Before Epic Games announced its esports plans for Fortnite , YouTuber Daniel “Keemstar” Keem began hosting a streamer-driven tournament called Friday Fortnite where top influencers duked it out in public matches to see who could slay out the hardest.
The rules to the tournament were fairly simple. A group of two players pairs with another duo and queue up for a squad match. Whichever duo has more kills at the end of two games advances. The losing team gets put into the loser’s portion of a double-elimination bracket.
The event was a staple for Fortnite viewership on Twitch from May into July of last year, but it came to an abrupt conclusion when Epic Games announced its Summer Skirmish series. The newer developer-run event effectively cannibalized Friday Fortnite, and reported prize pool caps set by Epic Games for third-party run tournaments made it not worth the effort for Keem, his team, and participants.
Epic Games’ esports events were never able to capture the same sort of allure that Friday Fortnite. The event brought together the elements of a grassroots organizational effort and high profile influencers with a format that encouraged high action gameplay in public matches – something streamers are used to.
Following the recent fallout between esports organization FaZe Clan and its top player Turner “Tfue” Tenney, the team has looked to protect its reputation in the court of public opinion, and in doing so, co-owner Richard “Banks” Bengston began working with Keem to revive the massively popular event from last summer.
upporting a prize pool for Friday Fortnite’s return, Bengston and FaZe Clan helped to restart the weekly tournament for a short period of time. It is also worth noting that, while Tenney is currently one of the most influential influencers on Twitch right now, his popularity largely originated from his consistent, strong performances during Friday Fortnite last year with his teammate Dennis “Cloakzy” Lepore.
There’s no mistaking the sort of effect Friday Fortnite has on Twitch in terms of viewership. Even without Tenney, the most-watched Fortnite streamer this year participating in the event, Friday Fortnite helped the battle royale game reach 3.3M hours watched this past week. Only four other days in the month of May produced more viewership for Fortnite on Twitch.
Tyler “Ninja” Blevins led the way in terms of Twitch streamers as he managed to finish the tournament in third place with his partner Malachi “Reverse2k” Greiner. Blevins’ viewership was strong enough that he even felt the need to let people on Twitter know about the “power of Fortnite Friday.”