Esports Competitor Tyler "Ninja" Blevins Launches Own Merch Store
Esports competitor and Twitch streamer Tyler Blevins -- known as Ninja -- has "launched his own merchandise brand and online store," according to Trent Murray of THE ESPORTS OBSERVER. The Team Ninja clothing line currently consists of "several t-shirts, posters, and hooded sweatshirts featuring Ninja’s branding and iconography." Personal merchandise is a "common method for esports content creators to generate additional revenue." However, it is "far less common for streamers to launch a dedicated website and brand, rather than producing shirts, stickers, or other low-cost merchandise through a third party service" (ESPORTSOBERSERVER.com, 9/17). Meanwhile, Blevins graces the cover of the latest issue of ESPN THE MAGAZINE, with the mag's Elaine Teng noting Blevins has "achieved what no other gamer has before: mainstream fame." With 11 million Twitch followers, Blevins "commands an audience few can dream of." He "logged the most social media interactions in the entire sports world" during the month of April, and people every day "tune in by the hundreds of thousands to watch him play." It has been reported Blevins earns $500,000 a month, though he suggests the number is "closer to seven figures." Twitch gives its content creators "three ways of generating revenue" -- ads, subscriptions and donations. Off subscriptions alone, Blevins "makes an estimated $300,000 a month." That is "not factoring in his sponsorships, which include Samsung, Red Bull and Uber Eats, or the revenue from YouTube, Instagram and other sites" (ESPN THE MAGAZINE, 10/1 issue).
MAINSTREAM ATTENTION: CNBC’s Dominic Chu called Blevins' appearance on the cover of ESPN the Magazine “validation” for esports. Chu said, “There’s been such a controversy around whether or not using your fingers on a joystick or a controller is actually a sport. But this is big when you get featured as an athlete. ... That probably is a pretty big validation for what you are and what you do.” CNBC's Meg Tirrell asked, “Do you think it's a recognition of esports as real sports or a recognition by ESPN and others of the huge market that video games are?” Chu replied, "Which is more important? It's the changing trend, what we view as sports” (“Worldwide Exchange,” CNBC, 9/19).
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