A new esports organization, Team 33, signed an eight-year-old earlier today, according to sports reporter Darren Rovell.
Team 33 signed Joseph Deen to the organization’s Fortnite division, giving him a $5,000 gaming setup and a $33,000 signing bonus, according to Rovell.
The team has reportedly been working with Deen since he was six years old.
“We are beyond excited to have Joseph on our exclusive Team 33 roster,” Team 33 co-founder Tyler Gallagher said. “We have secretly been scouting talent for our roster and games over the last few years and are proud to officially sign Joseph. We made it a point to train him over the past few years because young gamers are the future, and we want to start training them early.”
The signing happened at the team’s facility in Los Angeles, which is prominently featured on the organization’s website. It is listed as “an award-winning property designed for gamers, entrepreneurs, and music artists” and Team 33 notes that guests like Post Malone, Drake, Travis Scott, and more have visited or used it in the past.
The org’s current focus is on building up its existing roster and expanding into other titles, such as Call of Duty, CS:GO, Valorant, World of Warcraft, and more, according to the team’s press release. Though the team doesn’t list any of its players or rosters on the Team 33 website, only a list of guests, details, and links about House 33 and other bits of information regarding the organization.
The signing comes with a bit of controversy, though. With Deen being eight years old, the issue of children being signed to esports contracts has come up again. As esports attorney Ryan Fairchild pointed out, there are some loopholes that Team 33 could be using to get around the laws, but he said he was skeptical the team would use the loopholes.
FaZe Clan also signed Fortnite player H1ghsky1, who was revealed to be 12 years old and not 13, like FaZe originally reported when the signing happened. Players need to be 13 to compete in Fortnite’s official tournaments and to stream on Twitch.
H1ghsky1’s Twitch account was suspended and his Twitter account deleted shortly after the discovery last June, but he’s still a member of FaZe and creating content on YouTube. It’s unclear how something like this will affect Deen and Team 33 moving forward.