Turner “Tfue” Tenney participates in the 2019 Fortnite World Cup inside of Arthur Ashe Stadium, in … [+] New York City. (Photo by Johannes EISELE)
Fortnite streaming star Turner âTfueâ Tenny and esports organization FaZe Clan today announced they had reached a settlement after a 15-month contract dispute over sponsorship opportunities and payment.
âFaze and Turner Tenney are pleased to announce they have resolved their disputes and settled their litigations. The parties wish one another the best of luck in future endeavors,â read the emailed statement from both partiesâ legal representation, obtained by Forbes. No settlement amount was disclosed, and neither legal party was made available or responded to Forbesâ request for comment.
The suit shined a spotlight on labor and employment law issues in the rapidly growing esports and gaming industry. In May 2019, Tfue filed two suits against FaZe Clan in California, alleging the company was exploiting him with an âoppressive, onerous and one-sidedâ contract that violated state law and the Talent Agency Act. He claimed his contract with FaZe allowed the organization to collect up to 80% of the revenue he earned from third parties and prevented him from signing lucrative sponsorship deals. He labeled himself an artist, not an athlete, in order to take advantage of the TAA and was seeking to sever ties with the organization.
At the time, Tfueâs lawyer Bryan Freedman said it was the first significant case to ask questions about the relationship between gamers and their supposed management, the contracts and the potentially illegal actions by those calling themselves representatives.
FaZe fired back with a countersuit filed with the Southern District of New York three months later. It claimed Tfue disparaged the team in violation of a clause in his agreement, stole its confidential information, and interfered with other business contracts and relationships. FaZe asserted the player had earned upwards of $20 million since joining in April 2018, thanks to its unique methods of helping him create and promote content, and that it had collected only $60,000 of his deals. At the time, FaZe CEO Lee Trink told Forbes that he had personally tried to resolve the issue privately but realized a settlement would be impossible.
That was until today. This news comes one month after a California judge dismissed Tfueâs original complaint. With only the FaZe suit left outstanding, and a trial set for October, the situation was primed for a settlement.
With the matter now resolved, Tfue is officially no longer under contract or eligible to receive a paycheck, which he had been collecting from FaZe throughout this ordeal.
âMany of the biggest issues with Tfueâs agreement were outliers relative to the standard esports player contract, so I donât see it as representative of macro problems in the space,â says Bryce Blumâfounding partner of ESG Law, the first esports-dedicated firm in the worldâwho counts most valuable esports organizations 100 Thieves, Cloud9 and Team SoloMid among his clients. âWith that said, the suit shined a light on some of the interesting dynamics that arise when a player shifts from being purely a professional player into a full-time content creator that also plays in some esports competitions.â
He adds, âThe typical esports player contract hasnât changed much as a result, but the contracts between teams and content creators have, mostly in the sense that weâve begun creating bespoke terms for these types of arrangements because they vary so much from influencer to influencer.â
I spent the first half of my life trying to be an athlete so I could become the second woman after Mary Lou Retton to appear on the front of a Wheaties box. I failed at
I spent the first half of my life trying to be an athlete so I could become the second woman after Mary Lou Retton to appear on the front of a Wheaties box. I failed at that, and softball, basketball, volleyball, track, ice skating and cheerleading in the process. Looking back, the only thing amazing about my persistent pursuit of sporting glory was my lack of self-awareness. I only ever made a team after my second time trying out, when I showed up the next year with my much more athletic younger sister. (True story: she played as my proxy on Forbes’ softball team one season.) After my closest attempt at sporting success came in a spelling bee (thank you ESPN for televising and giving that sport cred), I finally decided to take the advice of all those coaches who told me I had the brains and benchwarmer’s big mouth better suited for sideline competition. Now after studying business at Drexel University and journalism at NYU, I compete for bylines, primarily writing about the business of sports. As for my sporting endeavor, I decided to focus on the one where I only compete with myself: running. I can be seen crossing the finish line of my front door celebrating my first place victory a few mornings a week…then eating a bowl of Wheaties, because “that’s what big girls eat.”
World news – CA – Fortnite Star Tfue Settles Dispute With FaZe Clan, Ending Esportsâ First Major Employment Lawsuit