Rolling Stone launches new gaming vertical with ESL FACEIT Group

ESL FACEIT Group x Rolling Stone
Image credit: ESL FACEIT Group

Entertainment news publication Rolling Stone has launched a new gaming vertical, in partnership with esports conglomerate ESL FACEIT Group

Rolling Stone Gaming will be led by Senior Gaming Editor Christopher Cruz, previously an Executive Producer of the publication’s Content Studio. 

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According to a release, the new vertical aims to spotlight ‘all aspects of gaming’ by producing ‘in-depth reporting, hands-on experiences and profiles’. ESL FACEIT Group’s exact influence on Rolling Stone Gaming’s coverage has not been disclosed however the company has been described as the vertical’s ‘content partner’.  

The news is likely to raise conflict of interest concerns given ESL FACEIT Group’s vast control over the tournament organiser space in esports. Under the ESL FACEIT Group’s various brands, the company currently operates notable esports leagues in Counter-Strike, Dota 2, Overwatch, StarCraft, sim racing and the mobile esports scene, amongst others. 

In the announcement, Rodrigo Samwell, CCO of ESL FACEIT Group, noted that the company will utilise the partnership to create “a unique platform to celebrate the esports stars, talent, creators, brands, and global competitions that next-generation audiences care about most.”

ESL FACEIT Group was formed in 2022 after Saudi Arabian government-backed Savvy Games Group merged esports tournament goliaths FACEIT and ESL Gaming in a $1.5bn (~£1.1bn) deal. Savvy Games Group also owns a stake in Chinese tournament conglomerate VSPO. Savvy Games Group’s parent company is the Saudi Arabian government’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

In addition to ESL and FACEIT, the Group acquired Vindex in March 2023, including its third-party tournament operator subsidiary Esports Engine which operates numerous esports tournaments.

Founded in 1967, Rolling Stone has transitioned from a magazine brand to a multi-media company that covers a variety of online and video content including politics, music and trending news. The company is operated and published by Penske Media Corporation.

Gus Wenner, CEO of Rolling Stone, spoke on the expansion: “Expanding into gaming is a thrill that allows us to embrace a vibrant cultural frontier, reflecting our desire to celebrate diverse forms of entertainment and passionate communities.”

Tom Daniels
Tom has been part of Esports Insider's team since October 2020 and is currently the platform's Editor. When not playing Football Manager, he enjoys reporting on the mobile esports scene as well as the betting sector.