Guild raises funding to enter men’s Counter-Strike

Guild Esports facility
Guild Esports’ headquarters in London. The organisation is partnered with Sky Broadband. Image credit: Guild

British esports organisation Guild Esports has announced it is further expanding its presence in CS:GO with a men’s roster ahead of the video game franchise’s move to Counter-Strike 2.

Guild highlighted that it raised funding to launch the team from ‘multiple sources’, including an unnamed national esports federation.

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The move into CS:GO will be the first men’s roster Guild has fielded in the game, one of the world’s largest esports titles. The organisation signed a women’s CS:GO team in March 2023.

Guild, a publicly traded esports organisation which is backed by former football star David Beckham, cited strong viewership and changes coming to Counter-Strike 2 as reasons why it decided to make the move now. The organisation, which competes in VALORANT, Rocket League, FIFA, Fortnite and women’s CS:GO, has been considering a move into CS:GO for several years.

Guild said in a release that Valve’s upcoming tournament rule changes, which will essentially shut down franchised CS:GO leagues come 2025, are expected to “significantly reduce the entry costs associated with some of the top tier men’s tournaments.”

The impending move from CS:GO to Counter-Strike 2 has also acted to reinvigorate community interest, Guild said. CS:GO, which was released in 2012, has broken concurrent player records in recent months.

Guild has not disclosed where it raised the funding from that it used to sign the team, nor which national esports federation participated in the funding. Guild told Esports Insider it could not disclose any further information about the nature or source of the funding.

The new team will comprise five players, plus coaching staff, with the roster set to be announced in ‘due course’.

The organisation said it had identified multiple sponsorship and other revenue-generating opportunities for the new team. In particular, it cited looser rules by Valve around advertising compared to other esports, perhaps indicating Guild intends on signing a gambling or other sponsor prohibited in other titles it competes in, like VALORANT.

Guild counts Sky Broadband, Subway, Samsung, Hyperice and more as sponsors. However, the organisation had a pre-tax loss of £2.3m in the six months ending March 2023, and had just £1.1m of net cash remaining at the time.

Jasmine Skee, CEO of Guild Esports, said: “Counter-Strike is an iconic esport, with an immense fanbase and more than ten years after launching it continues to grow in popularity. Our entry into the men’s competitions, underscored by the impending launch of Counter-Strike 2, aligns perfectly with our vision to consistently elevate our brand’s presence on a global scale.

“Following the outstanding reception to our all-female Counter-Strike team earlier this year, we’re eager to further tap into this burgeoning market, seizing the myriad of sponsorship and revenue opportunities it presents.”

Jake Nordland
Jake has worked at Esports Insider as a journalist and editor since early 2021. Now ESI's Media Manager, he continues to act as lead editor of print magazine The Esports Journal, and contributes his words to the website from time to time.