Transformational year for a leading international esports group
Gfinity plc, a leading international esports entertainment business, announces publication of its audited financial results for the year ended 30 June 2017.
– Revenue increased 64% to £2.37m (2016: £1.45m)
– Loss before tax of £5.3m (2016: £3.1m), in line with management expectations, reflecting investment in expanding the executive team, refurbishing the Gfinity Esports Arena, investing in technology capabilities and preparation for launch of the Gfinity Elite Series in July 2017
– Loss per share reduced 25% to 3p (2016: 4p)
– Cash and cash equivalents at year end of £4.5m (2016: £0.83m)
– £9.95m of new funds raised during the year through two oversubscribed placings of new shares; £3.7m in July 2016 and £6.25m in May 2017
Neville Upton, CEO, Gfinity plc, said: “This has been a pivotal year for Gfinity. As the esports sector goes from strength to strength so does Gfinity’s enviable reputation within it. I am pleased to be able to announce year-on-year revenue growth of 64%, driven principally by growth in our Partner Events business, which is working on an increasingly global basis with some of the world’s best known games publishers and, since the year end, sports rights holders as well.
The loss for the year was in line with expectations and reflects our investment in building a world class executive team, further investments in the Gfinity Esports Arena and technology and in preparations for the highly successful launch of the Gfinity Elite Series, the first professional season of which commenced in July 2017, with the second season now underway.
Following the year end, I was also delighted to announce further steps in our global expansion including the acquisition of CEVO, Inc. in the USA and Gfinity’s first overseas deal to license the Elite Series brand, ruleset and underlying technology in Australia, in conjunction with HT&E. With the esports sector continuing to grow and attract ever more non-industry commercial partners, it leaves Gfinity in a strong position to move forward into 2018 with confidence.”
During the year to 30 June 2017, Gfinity continued to establish itself as the partner of choice for a number of major games publishers and other non-industry commercial partners seeking to engage with the eSports audience. Key activity within this area included:
– Gears of War: Global partnership with Microsoft for Gears of War, including events in London, Paris and Mexico City
– Forza: Global esports partner for Forza, including the delivery of live events in New York, Le Mans and Beijing
– Halo: Partnership with Microsoft and 343 Studios, including events in London and Mexico City
– Call of Duty: European partnership with Activision Blizzard for Call of Duty events in London in January and June/ July (spanning year end) as part of the Call of Duty World League.
In addition, following the year end, Gfinity became the esports partner of Formula 1 for the inaugural Formula 1 eSports season, creating, delivering and broadcasting a pioneering esports programme, including a live semi-final at the Gfinity Esports Arena in London and the live finals event at the final Formula 1 race of the season in Abu Dhabi. This appointment exemplifies the key role that Gfinity expects to play with traditional sports organisations and commercial rights holders as they seek to engage with a younger audience through esports.
Gfinity Owned Content:
A key focus of the year to 30 June 2017 was the preparation and launch of the Gfinity Elite Series. The online component of this, the Gfinity Challenger Series, commenced in March 2017, with the the first professional Gfinity Elite Series season beginning on 7 July 2017 and running until 2 September 2017.
The Gfinity Elite Series featured 8 leading esports franchises, competing over 9 consecutive weeks. The launch season produced over 186 hours of live broadcast content, which was distributed across major broadcast partners including BT Sport, BBC Three, Eleven Sports and Twitch.tv. The Gfinity Elite Series Season One attracted a cumulative audience across the season of over 3 million.
Season Two of the Gfinity Elite Series commenced on 6 October 2017. After the seven weeks of the regular season, viewership totals over 3.6 million, representing growth of over 40% on the equivalent point in Season One. This growing audience further establishes the Gfinity Elite Series as a core part of the global esports calendar and represents a fast growing platform for monetisation through sponsorship, franchise fees, broadcast rights and a number of ancillary commercial revenue streams moving into 2018.
Investment in Leadership Team:
During the year to 30 June 2017, Gfinity announced a number of appointments to strengthen the Executive team with specialists bringing years of experience from relevant industries. These included recruitment of:
o Chief Commercial Officer Mark Brittain, previously of Syco Entertainment
o Chief Strategy Officer Bryan Healy, previously from UFC
o Global Head of Broadcast Amanda Lawson, previously of UFC and ITV Sport
o Chief Marketing Officer Justin Mier, previously of Ubisoft, EA and Microsoft
o Chief Operations Officer Taz Rose, previously with Brandpath
The fact that such a group elected to join Gfinity ahead of other opportunities is a further validation of the potential of the esports market and of Gfinity’s place within it.
During the year to 30 June 2017, Gfinity has increasingly operated on a global basis in conjunction with major international partners, with Gfinity esports events being delivered around the world. Following the year end, Gfinity also announced two further transactions to accelerate this process:
– Acquisition of CEVO, Inc. in the USA, bringing further esports expertise, cutting edge technology and new revenue streams to the Group
– Licensing of the Gfinity Elite Series brand, format and technology to a newly formed joint venture in Australia in partnership with HT&E Ltd – a leading Australian media company listed on the ASX.
Annual Report and Accounts
The Company’s Annual Report and Accounts for the year to 30 June 2017 will be posted to shareholders on 24 November and copies will be available on the Company’s website then. Notice of the Annual General Meeting of the Company, which is scheduled to take place on 19 December 2017, will be posted to shareholders with the Annual Report.
Full RNS Update: HERE
Gfinity is a leading international esports entertainment business. The London-based company enjoys strong partnerships and commercial relationships with the pre-eminent game publishers, esport players and the wider esports community and has built a reputation for delivering top quality esport competitions, both on-line and off-line, and producing industry leading esports broadcasts.
Gfinity delivers online esport competitions open to all registrants and stages world leading off-line events in which the world’s top esport players travel to the Gfinity Esports Arena in London to take part in competitions broadcast on-line to millions of viewers worldwide. Gfinity also stages live esports events featuring top video gaming titles, across PCs, consoles and mobile devices.
Gfinity monetises the strong position it has created in professional esports through a combination of sponsorship, advertising, and broadcast income relating to Gfinity’s own events. Gfinity also receives license fees and revenue share from licensing the Gfinity Elite Series format as part of an international roll-out. In addition it earns fees by creating and delivering bespoke esports events for commercial sponsors and game publishers seeking to engage with the esports community.
In 2017 Gfinity launched the Gfinity Elite Series professional esports tournament which has quickly established itself as the pre-eminent professional esports competition in the UK.
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