Better Collective, a leading digital sports media group, continues to expand within esports by acquiring Futbin and related domains, constituting world-leading esports media brands within esoccer (FIFA), for a total price of up to 105 mEUR. With the addition of Futbin and related assets, Better Collective’s esports portfolio reaches 100 million monthly visits, and Better Collective further diversifies its income stream as Futbin revenues are mainly ads and subscription sales. In connection with the acquisition, Better Collective updates its financial targets for 2022.
The interest for esports continues to increase as more people interact with communities centred around their favourite esports titles. The acquisition of Futbin and associated domains is an important milestone in Better Collective’s ambition of becoming the leading digital sports media group, adding to the already strong position within esports built on hltv.org, the leading community for CS:GO.
With 50 million monthly visits on its website and 3 million daily active users (DAU) on its proprietary app, Futbin is the world’s leading esports brand related to the FIFA esoccer game. Together with its associated domains, the platforms provide a major player base with important insights into the game of FIFA. The main business model of the platforms is ad sales and more recently, the launch of the Futbin app has driven significant revenue growth with subscription services, which is still in an early stage but with a very promising outlook. The asset acquisition entails a significant revenue diversification for Better Collective as current revenue is not derived from activities related to sports betting, but through ads sales to retail and consumer brands as well as subscription.
During the last 12 months, the platforms generated 13 mEUR in revenues growing with a CAGR of 55% from 2019 to 2021. Better Collective will consolidate the acquired assets into the Better Collective Group accounts as from April 19, 2022. The team behind Futbin will continue to provide assistance to the business to ensure continued strong development of the platform, which will also be subject to investments going forward.
Better Collective expects to create significant synergies across the esports portfolio by developing products and services from a joint infrastructure, making it possible to effectively scale the esports brands to reach a larger audience. Reaching a combined 100 million monthly visits from Futbin, HLTV and other esports assets, Better Collective now holds a leading position in the esports market. Granting a unique access to the esports audience, this is a key segment for retail and consumer brands in their global positioning. The increased scale allows for optimised revenue streams through improved partnerships.
The purchase price is agreed at up to 105 mEUR. Out of the total purchase price, 70 mEUR will be paid upfront in cash and shares of Better Collective A/S will be paid at a market value of 5 mEUR . The shares are expected to be transferred from Better Collective’s holding of its own shares. The remaining up to 30 mEUR is structured as a number of separate earn out payments to be paid over the coming two years subject to certain financial performance criteria. Furthermore, the acquisition of assets provides Better Collective with rights to tax-depreciation. Better Collective recently expanded its credit lines with Nordea Bank with an additional 100 mEUR to finance further acquisitions, including the Futbin and associated assets.
Financial targets for 2022
In connection with the acquisition, Better Collective updates its financial targets for the full year 2022 for operational earnings (EBITDA) to approximately 85 mEUR (previous approximately 80 mEUR). The updated financial targets, reflects addition of approximately 8 months of operational income from the acquired assets after inclusion of expected added costs to further develop the business. Other financial targets relating to organic growth and debt leverage remain unchanged at 15-25% for 2022 and <3.0x respectively.
Jesper Søgaard, CEO and co-founder of Better Collective, says:
“Esports is maturing and attracting more and more people globally – also professional athletes. Acquiring Futbin and related assets is a clear testament to Better Collective’s ambition of creating a platform that reaches esports audiences across the world. And even though more than 100 million people visit our esports platforms every month, we will continue to look for additional growth. We are very impressed with the high growth profile and the technology behind Futbin and the other assets in the portfolio. We expect to see significant positive synergistic effects with Better Collective’s business going forward”.
Esports: A fast-growing industry
The esports market has boomed in recent years. GlobeNewswire forecasts the esports market to continue growing with a 22% CAGR between 2022 to 2030, with ads and sponsorships representing the largest share of revenue.
Game Changers and Guild X broke records in Berlin
Guild Esports, a global esports team organisation, took sixth place overall with team Guild X in the inaugural VALORANT Game Changers Championship, held in Berlin (15-20 November).
Following a year of intense regional competition, the world’s most elite Game Changers squads went head-to-head in person, for the first time ever, to crown a global champion in Germany. Bringing together the best teams from North America, Brazil, EMEA, APAC, LATAM and East Asia, G2 Esports won the Grand Final to lift the coveted championship trophy.
Supporting women in gaming is a key part of Guild’s strategy within the sporting community, aligning with the aims of Game Changers to create new opportunities and exposure for women and other marginalised genders within VALORANT esports.
The tournament in Berlin, with over 150,000 viewers* tuning in, demonstrates how women in gaming and teams such as Guild X are not just changing the game but also breaking records. According to Esports Charts, Game Changers has become the most-watched tournament for women’s esports.
On Sunday, Guild also hosted a watch party at the Sky Guild Gaming Centre in Shoreditch with talent Elz the Witch, Iain Chambers plus other influencers such as Megsoundslikeegg and Geo Collins in attendance. Even though Guild X was not in the Grand Final, Guild, along with its supporting partners Sky and Subway, wanted to offer a safe space for VALORANT fans to watch the finale, especially women and marginalised gender fans.
Jasmine Skee, Chief Marketing Officer at Guild Esports, said: “Our vision at Guild is to lead the way in supporting the future of women in gaming, and we are committed to equal opportunities for our Guild X players. The Game Changers Championship in Berlin was a hugely successful event and we are extremely proud as an organisation to have been a part of it. Congratulations to all at G2 Esports on their victory in such a milestone event for the esports industry. With the announcement of the new Game Changers format, we’re excited to watch our Guild X team, and the wider women esports industry, grow.”
Guild X has been confirmed this week as automatic top-tier qualifiers for the VALORANT Game Changers EMEA 2023 competition, with relegation rules now being in place as part of the new format changes announced. The Game Changers tournament will continue to break down stereotypes, elevate women and allow them to further their careers in a dedicated safe space, and provide a platform for professional growth both in and outside of the game – all actions that are completely aligned with Guild’s strategy moving into 2023 and beyond.
Inter Esports Partners with Mkers
Inter Esports, the eSports division of Italian football team Football Club Internazionale Milano, is continuing to strengthen its international and online presence in the world of eSports. After the start of the partnership with the Club’s Global Football Videogame Partner KONAMI, the Nerazzurri have now announced a new collaboration with Mkers, the largest eSports agency in Italy and one of the biggest in the world. It is also the only Italian company active in the sector. The 2022/23 season will see the Nerazzurri taking part in KONAMI trophies, both domestic and international with a new squad of Pro Players. The team will reveal their new roster on Sunday 27 November on the main stage of the eSports Arena at Milan Games Week & Cartoomics, during the event organised by KONAMI.
“Working with a leading firm in gaming such as Mkers allows our Club to further develop the eSports project, which is of great strategic importance to Inter in terms of continuing to innovate and connect with the younger generations around the world,” Alessandro Antonello, CEO of FC Internazionale Milano, said.
“This is a massive collaboration for Mkers, which is a clear signal of our growth until now. It’s another chance for us to expand our reach abroad. We will work hard to show that we are worthy of the trust shown to us,” said Paolo Cisaria, Managing Director Mkers Spa.
World Esports Championship: CS:GO team to kick off India’s campaign on December 2
The Indian CS:GO team will be leading the country’s charge at the IESF’s 14th World Esports Championship as they take on Tajikistan in their opener on December 2.
A team, comprising of skipper Ritesh Sarda (Defaulter), Shuvajyoti Chakraborty (Mcg1LLzZz), Anshul Adarkar (KiiLSwitCh), Hrishikesh Shenoy (Crazy_Gamer) and Harsh Jain (lynX) has been placed in the Group C along with Tajikistan, Team IESF and Chile. After their eighth-place finish in the last edition of the tournament held in Eilat, Israel, the team will be determined to clinch a podium finish this time around.
Team India CS:GO captain Ritesh Sarda said “It’s been a great honour to represent India back-to-back in the WEC. We as a team are excited and prepared to play in the upcoming WEC starting next week in Bali. The world finals is going to be a huge spectacle. With the right mentality and proper grind, we have high hopes for the tournament and will try to bring the laurels to the country.”
Organised by International Esports Federation (IESF), the upcoming 14th World Esports Championship will witness the participation of top athletes from over 120 countries, competing in six different Esports titles—CS:GO, Dota 2, Tekken 7, eFootball as well as debutants PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Bang. With a massive prize pool of USD 500K (INR 4 crores approximately) up for grabs, the tournament will be conducted in Bali from December 1 to 12. Team India consists of the same athletes which represented India at the last World Esports Championship in Eilat and had won the National Qualifiers (NESC2022).
Besides CS:GO, India will also participate in the Tekken 7 and eFootball titles.
“This is another great opportunity post the Commonwealth Esports Championship for India’s esports athletes to prove their metal. With Olympics also announcing “Olympic Esports Week”, esports is inching towards its Woodstock moment; and medals in events like CEC, WEC will help in establishing India as a dominant-esports powerhouse’ globally. This set of our athletes have great potential and we are confident that they will give a tough challenge to the world’s best and emerge victorious and make our glorious nation proud. I wish them all the very best and look forward to see them triumph in their respective titles” said Yugal Kishore Sharma, Director of Esports Federation of India.
Hitesh Khorwal (Rcool) and Hemanth Kommu (Peshemak7) will represent India in the Tekken 7 and eFootball titles respectively.
Khorwal will battle it out against athletes from Pakistan, Bahamas, Venezuela and Palestine in the Group E and will be beginning his challenge against Lucius Antoine of the Bahamas on December 3.
The Indian’s clash against Arslan Siddique of Pakistan on the same day following his opening game will be one to watch out for. Arslan has won the VSFighting X, Dreamhack 2022 and Combo Breaker 2022 titles earlier this year.
“I am really glad that I will be representing India in WEC this year, this feeling is adorable and I can’t explain my emotions. WEC is always an arduous task for Tekken participants since our scene has progressed tremendously well and reached a new zenith. So it’s a moment to cherish for me. It creates a perfect scenery of success for me after putting my blood and sweat into this game. This time I am more devised for the WEC. As a mountain to climb it already is, I feel confident as well as prepared for this. It’s a great opportunity to prove my mettle against the literal virtuosos of the title and my body, soul and mind, is ready for it. Bring it on, Bali!” Hitesh expressed his excitement ahead of the World Championship Finals.
Kommu, on the other hand, will be competing against athletes from Kazakhstan, Armenia and Guinea in Group P. He will play his first match against Cheick Conde of Guinea on December 3.
“It’s an amazing feeling and honour to represent our country at the 14th WEC. It’s a huge opportunity for me to play at such a big event with the top players from different countries competing. I’m confident with my grind and will try my best to get the best results in the tournament and want to bring some glory from it back home.” Hemanth said while expressing his thoughts on getting the opportunity to represent India in the world finals.
The group stage games for Tekken 7 will be contested in the best-of-three format and for CS:GO it will be in the best-of-one.
Following the conclusion of the group stage, the Top-2 teams from each group will progress into the next round in the CS:GO and Tekken 7 titles while for eFootball only the top team of the group will qualify for the next stage.
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