Gfinity has announced that it’s bringing its Challenger and Elite Series to Australia via a strategic partnership with HT&E. The result is Gfinity Esports Australia.
Gfinity Esports Australia will ‘offer a complete turnkey esports solution for brands, sports teams and publishers’.
The five year agreement licenses the proprietary Gfinity Elite Series format and brand, together with the esports tournament technology in return for an annual licence fee.
HT&E Limited is an ASX-listed leading media and entertainment business. Following the launch of the Elite Series in July 2017 in the UK, Gfinity is keen to capitalise on its current ‘hot topic’ status following agreements with BBC 3 and BT Sport.
The cumulative total of unique viewers for the live stream shows since the start of the Elite Series have totalled 2.7 million fans, who between them have streamed over 17 years of video content. This is outside viewership on BBC 3, BT Sport and Eleven Sports.
The way that the Australian Elite Series will work is that city-based professional franchise teams will battle it out on a weekly basis, with each event broadcast live online and ‘across other TV and media platforms’.
A new Australian online competition, the Gfinity Challenger Series, will also launch later this year. This will be open to all gamers, and will give Australian amateurs a chance to turn pro and earn some exposure. There’ll be a player draft meaning potential to play in the Elite Series. The Gfinity Elite Draft allows team owners to select their squads for the upcoming seasons, with each squad having a defined number of professional and amateur players.
Neville Upton, CEO, Gfinity plc commented: “Gfinity shares a passion for esports with gamers and fans across the world. Following the Elite Series’ immense popularity in the UK, we’re excited to bring it to Australia where HT&E’s extensive expertise and knowledge in the Australian market will be invaluable as we aim to build the most engaging and dynamic esports offering in Australia.”
HT&E CEO & Managing Director, Ciaran Davis noted: “The global esports market has seen substantial growth in recent years, and we’re really excited to be entering this space with an established, world-leading esports company, Gfinity.
“This move supports our strategic objectives to diversify revenues and expand our audience base, and we see in this opportunity the potential to reach a younger audience base and drive growth for HT&E. Leveraging our unique combination of media assets and using Gfinity’s tournament platform, Gfinity Esports Australia will also be perfectly positioned to run bespoke events for sponsors and strategic partners looking to engage with the esports community – a highly engaged audience that will continue to grow.”
Gfinity reportedly owns 30% of Gfinity Esports Australia. In its own press release HT& E announced seven teams for the league which will start in summer 2018. These are Adelaide Photonics, Brisbane Deceptors, Melbourne Metattak, Melbourne Rebolte, Perth Subnets, Sydney Blue Surge and Sydney Opsydian.
Esports Insider says: Gfinity did well to keep this one under wraps and it’s the latest in a number of major deals by the company in recent weeks. This one signals its first move outside of the UK however and, as such, it’s a huge milestone. There has been relatively little investment into esports in Australia thus far but this could prove to be a game-changer.