Better Collective Business Model Shows Strength Against COVID-19

Better Collective’s business model has shown strength against the headwinds of COVID-19, as it continues to diversify its publishing assets to compete in the esports industry.

Better Collective posted a strong opening up to 2020 with a 40 percent increase in group sales to € 20 million (Q12019: € 15 million), powered by a combination of improved sports win margins and increased consumer engagement across its portfolio.

Despite the effect of the mid-March cancellation of global sports equipment under lockout, Better Collective delivered an EBITDA rise of 32 per cent to €8.6 million (Q12019: €6.5 million).

Better Collective announced before the virus circumstances that company cash-flow conversion had increased to €9.5 million (Q1 2019: €7.5 million), reporting improvements in all key operating metrics.

Better Collective announced a 27 percent rise in group operating income to €6.5 million (Q12019: €5.2 million) at the end of Q1 2020 trading.

Better Collective CEO Jesper Søgaard said: “2020 got off to a strong start with significant growth throughout the business and key performance indicators. During mid-March, an unprecedented halt on major sports events was seen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic postponing events and thus revenue.

“However, our digital business model has proven strong under these circumstances and we have as a company demonstrated the flexibility to withstand a period with low sports activity.”

Notwithstanding its strong launch, Better Collective said it had to step rapidly to reduce the pandemic factors impacting its business networks.

Better Collective announced that April’s sales were down around €4.6 m due to COVID-19 effects, which is likely to see the company announce its first negative quarter since the 2018 Stockholm Nasdaq listing.

Søgaard went on to report on COVID-19 circumstances: “I would like to express my sincere thanks to all Better Collective’s stakeholders; our employees and management team, our Board of Directors and all our business partners for their extraordinary performance and flexibility during the difficult times that the entire global society is currently facing. At Better Collective we love sports and betting and we hope that major sports events will be back in the arenas soon.”

The publisher has implemented a cost-savings programme to counter multiple unknowns, which saw board members and founders waiving their 2020 wages and compensation packages.

Before the outbreak in mid-March, Better Collective was able to secure the €35 m acquisition of the leading Nordic esports publishing company HLTV APS, which was the first esports asset for the company.

Søgaard commented: “Through the acquisition of HLTV.org, which is the world’s largest community-site within Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), we believe we have found the best-positioned organisation and brand within this field.”

“We expect strong synergies as many of the betting operators we collaborate with today also offer betting on esports. As it turns out, the timing of this acquisition was just right and we are off to a great start.”