When you think of the UK eSports is probably the last thing that comes to mind. If you speak to anyone from the UK they’ll reply “what is eSports?” This didn’t seem to be an issue when UK based company Gfinity began pumping millions into the naturally dead UK eSports scene. At the time it didn’t seem like a bad idea. They have the infrastructure and the facilities to host tevents, they’re also based in Europe which isn’t a bad thing after all considering that’s where competitive eSports is most prevalent. So looking away from their productions and sold out venues, what went wrong for Gfinity?
What went wrong?
Not all that much, to be completely honest. Gfinity makes most of their money from sponsorships and endorsed deals with publishers. A large amount of money was put into the opening of their very own eSports Arena, the first of its kind in the United Kingdom. On June 30th 2015 the company released their 12 month report where it was sitting at £3.5 million loss. After that the company raised a further £560,828 from the deals mentioned above, including ticket sales for their new Arena. Gfinity stated that the loss can be related directly to investments on the Arena and tournaments which featured during the competitive year.
Now reaching the six month mark after the report Gfinity are currently sitting at £2.73 million net cash, with monthly costs amounting to £230,000.
“It has been a transformational year for Gfinity, in which we established a leading position within the eSports industry by building up our brand and delivering regular world-class eSports events to a global audience.”
“The success of the 2015 Gfinity championships, attracting over 50 million online views and sell-out crowds, demonstrates our ability to provide sponsors and broadcasters with regular top level eSports content that has not been available in the UK before.
“The sector continues to develop rapidly and offers exciting opportunities. Our ability to take advantage of these will depend on our funding and speed of revenue development through sponsorship and other forms of monetisation. We remain confident in our prospects and have launched a further round of funding to ensure that we have the short term resources to take advantage of these opportunities.” – Neville Upton, CEO of Gfinity.
What does this mean for South Africa?
Believe it or not, our eSports industry is larger than the United Kingdom’s. We have more active players and more tournaments, but we lack the sponsorship and infrastructure. It becomes slightly worrisome that a country like the United Kingdom are reporting such large losses (R76 681 994.78). As eSports grows in South Africa similar questions are being asked. Can South Africa host its own major event? Can we have our own Arena? And with reports like this it’s seeming further and further away from the possibilities of it actually happening.
Naturally we are looking at two completely different parts of the world, and some would argue that eSports in the United Kingdom is also in its infancy, so don’t let this be the bar. Do you think South Africa would be able to sustain a business model similar to this?
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Last Updated: November 3, 2015