Guild Esports, the UK-based esports organisation co-owned by David Beckham, has today announced the latest Guild Esports annual results.
Here are seven takeaways from the audited results for its financial year ending September 30th 2022:
1. Guild Esports annual results – key stats including revenue, profit, staff and prize money figures
- Pre-tax loss of £8.75m reported, similar to the £8.82m loss made a year prior
- Revenues increased by 137% to a company record of £4.5m, up from £1.9m a year prior
- Sponsorship increased by 168% to £3.2m – up from £1.2m a year prior
- Net cash stood at £2.73m as of September 30th 2022, and is now £1.6m as of January 25th 2023
- Esports prize money won increased by 81% to £1.3m (most goes to players, Guild takes a ‘small proportion’)
- Total staff numbers sit at 35, down from a peak of 45 reported at the half year (and the current number is expected to ‘remain broadly unchanged’)
Guild said it is hoping to raise more funds in the future.
Last year, Guild Esports generated revenues of £1.9m in 2021 (from October 1st 2020 to September 30th 2021), but posted a loss before tax of £8.8m.
Last summer, Guild Esports announced job cuts and a £5m loss in its half-year report.
In today’s Guild Esports annual results, Guild also reported an approximate £1m rise in administration costs, which are ‘expected to decline significantly this year following a streamlining of overheads’ under Guild’s new CEO Jasmine Skee.
Guild’s stock price is currently 1.25p on the London Stock Exchange. It started at 8.15p back in October 2020.
2. Guild Academy ‘scaled down’
The Guild Academy launched back in 2021 as an online training portal, and was followed by the opening of a physical academy, gaming centre and Guild HQ in Shoreditch, London.
The organisation said in today’s Guild Esports annual results: “The online academy initially generated over 3,000 sign-ups and engagement from budding professionals and gamers alike. Despite the encouraging early market response, interest in the online academy has waned, leading to lower than expected returns for the company.
“Accordingly, the online service, which was designed to provide long-distance coaching for professional development, has been scaled down to save on costs.”
Guild went on to say that its face-to-face academy training and mentoring system at Shoreditch has ‘continued to gain traction and is a growth segment that has the potential to develop multiple revenue streams, ranging from the provision of personalised coaching workshops for talented players to generating sponsor-supported content featuring individual young players, as well as by hosting corporate events’.
The org also mentioned in the Guild Esports annual results about the Guild College announced in November 2022, and that it has filled more than 30% of spaces and expects to fill 100% of spaces by September 2023.
3. Cost-cutting in content creation presents shift in strategy as Guild hopes to double audience to 2m
In the Guild Esports annual results today, the organisation says it has an owned audience of 1.1m, and expects to approximately double this to 2m by the end of the calendar year.
To do this, Guild says it’s shifted its strategy away from employing influencers on a full-time basis, instead ‘placing a strategic emphasis on raising visibility for specific campaigns run with Guild’s sponsorship partners and deploying content creators and influencers selectively to boost each campaign’.
“Guild has updated and streamlined its roster of content creators and influencers to control costs and improve the quality of content they produce, which we expect to lead to renewed growth in, and deeper engagement from, esports audiences worldwide,” Guild said in the report.
Derek Lew, Non-Executive Chairman of Guild Esports, added:
“These actions, which included a streamlining of suppliers and expenditure relating to content creation, are anticipated to reduce our annual cost base by approximately £2.5m to approximately £5.3m from this year, and significantly reduce the ongoing cash requirements of the business.
“Importantly, the management team do not anticipate the right-sizing of the business to impact its ability to deliver on its objectives.”
Guild bets on TikTok
In the Guild Esports annual results, Guild said it’s building its endemic audience through the creation of original content, signing of top players and working with influencers and content creators, with ‘David Beckham’s social posts bringing in fans from different segments’.
It’s also placing a greater focus on TikTok, having awarded a contract to creative studio Little Dot Studios in December 2022 for management of Guild’s channels and vertical video production. The partnership with Little Dot will include Guild’s players, content creators and the Sky Guild Gaming Centre, and support Guild’s marketing activations with sponsorship partners.
Guild social campaigns on TikTok alone to date drew video views of 4.3m and an 11.06% channel growth.
4. Guild plans to add more women’s esports teams after several wins in 2022
During the year, Guild teams won five competitions and tournaments including the Rocket League EMEA Predator
League 2022, Game Changers EMEA Series 3, Fortnite Champion Series, EA Sports FIFA 22 eChampions League and MrBeast’s Extreme Survival Challenge.
The total pool of Guild team players was 17, who secured £1.3m in prize money wins (up from £720,000 in 2021). Most of this prize money goes to the players, with ‘Guild retaining a small proportion’.
Guild says in the Guild Esports annual results it’s focused on improving female representation within the esports industry and in its teams, and was delighted by the success of Valorant X, its all-female Valorant team, across 2022.
“With our latest sponsorship partner Sky UK also committed to promoting female participation in esports, we will actively consider entering more all-female teams later this year,” Guild said.
5. Guild sets a record for new sponsorship deals
In today’s Guild Esports annual results, Guild said it set a record for new sponsorship deals, having signed £10.7m in five deals in 2022, increasing the total value of signed contracts by 174% to £14.6m (up from £3.9m in 2021) from global brands including Bitstamp, Coca-Cola, Sky UK and Samsung.
The year under review kicked-off with a £4.5m three-year sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp and rounded off with a three-year deal with Sky UK.
Guild added: “Our existing order book, which is the portion of signed contracts yet to be recognised as revenues over
the lifetime of the deals, amounted to £9.2m as at our year end. Based on this order visibility, the company’s annual sponsorship revenue run rate is approximately £5m at present providing a strong foundation for further progress in the current year and beyond.”
6. Guild changes merch plans for 2023 following ‘disappointing’ sales
“Following a disappointing first run in terms of sales which generated negligible revenues in 2022, a new creative team has been hired and tasked with building out a clear and robust strategy for performance wear and Guild branded apparel,” the org admitted in the Guild Esports annual results today.
“Guild brand recognition and affinity is favourable and accordingly our new approach to merchandise has been devised to ensure reduced manufacturing costs, ‘no minimum order’ partner suppliers and a development of the Guild brand and how that can manifest in fashion. Guild’s branded apparel strategy in 2023 will be focused on building robust, cost effective and responsible manufacturing but with a greater focus on creative and design, trend led and trend forming.”
Guild’s new creative services team will focus on new design technologies, using experience in AI and digital consumables, to try and keep design costs low.
“Production of new products will be actioned only once the community and wider focus groups have expressed interest in a digital version of proposed product ranges,” Guild said, possibly referencing the 2021 Guild Esports pro player team jersey that divided opinion.
Guild also said it will not sell branded peripherals or products like water bottles and keyrings, but these type of items will be included as part of partner agreements, campaigns and giveaways.
Guild Esports’ new merch ranges will include:
- Core Pro range, fashion wear designed for esports teams and pros
- Core Public, fashion wear designed for the everyday gamer
- Pro Utility, performance wear for pro and up-and-coming competitive gamers
- Skin Drops, short-run printed designs ‘reactive to gaming culture’
7. Guild optimistic about 2023 esports market despite economic challenges
Esports in 2023 is not looking particularly encouraging, but Guild cited a recent Newzoo report for its optimism in today’s Guild Esports annual results.
“The esports sector grew by 22 percent in 2022 and is now a $1.4bn industry (source: Statista, 2023). It is also set to fare well for the long term and predicted to reach $1.87bn by 2025 according to the same forecasters. Total viewing audience is estimated to increase from more than 532 million to approximately 641 million in the same period (source: Newzoo, 2023),” Guild said.
“Our strategy remains to establish Guild as one of Europe’s top three esports teams organisations and brands, driven by a roster of great players, rich content and a global fan base, all supported by major consumer brands and sponsors and an esports academy system to nurture new talent. Excellent progress was made on several fronts to achieve this goal, led by a banner year of new revenue generating sponsorship deals.
“Guild is on track to deliver another year of strong revenue growth, underpinned by a strong contracted order book visibility and an annual sponsorship revenue run rate estimated to be approximately £5m at present. Our pipeline of potential new sponsorship deals also remains robust and several significant deals are under active negotiations, providing significant upside potential to revenue growth for this year and beyond.
Jasmine Skee, CEO of Guild Esports, commented in today’s Guild Esports annual results: “Guild delivered strong growth as we transformed our pipeline of potential sponsorship opportunities into revenues.
“The new year has started well with a lower cost base, a strengthened Board and senior management teams, as well as a focus on expanding our revenue streams and audience, all of which place Guild in an excellent position to continue its positive momentum. We therefore look to the future with confidence.”
Derek Lew, Non-Executive Chairman of Guild Esports, added: “I am delighted to report that Guild Esports made excellent progress in the year to 30 September 2022 with stellar growth in its revenues, major sponsorship wins, outstanding team performances and an engaged fan base.
“The quality and size of our sponsorship deals is of great pride to the company, as we have become one of the leading European esports teams and lifestyle brands in a relatively few short years. Guild resides in the top six esports teams in Europe for sponsorship revenue received over the previous two years.”
Dom is an award-winning writer and finalist of the Esports Journalist of the Year 2023 award. He graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Federation up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and offer esports consultancy and freelance services. Note: Dom still produces the British Esports newsletter on a freelance basis, so our coverage of British Esports is always kept simple – usually just covering the occasional press release – because of this conflict of interest.