A short introduction of the Astralis Group:
– League of Legends (LoL) is the world’s biggest esport with +200 million viewers of the World Finals in 2018, compared to the 102 million who viewed the 2020 Super Bowl. In LoL we own the Spanish team Origen with fans across Spain, Latin America and Asia. There are 4 official franchise leagues in the world and Origen is presently tied for first place in LEC, the European LoL league.
– Counter-Strike has a legacy of over 20 years and is the second-most popular esport globally. Our team, Astralis, is number 1 in the world and is widely recognized as the best team of all time. The vast and growing fanbase is primarily focused in Western Europe, North America and Brazil.
– FIFA is probably the esports game with the broadest mainstream appeal. Our players in Future FC include one of the best players in the world, Danish-Turkish Fatih Üstün, our Israeli 18 years old prodigy Roee Feldman, and Stephanie “Teca” Luana da Silva Santos from Brazil, one of only 2 full time professional female players globally.
With the stock market in mind, how would you describe Astralis Group to a person with a lot of finance experience, but with zero experience around esports?
– On a global scale, esports is a billion dollar industry reaching +450 million fans worldwide. Historically the industry has grown +30% per annum and is expected to continue a growth rate of +20% over the coming years.
– Astralis Group is an esports media company owning three of the strongest and best performing international team brands; in Counter-Strike, League of Legends and FIFA. We monetize these team brands on a global level through media rights, commercial partnerships, and direct-to-fan products.
What are the revenue streams for an esports team?
– Current revenue streams revolve around media rights and commercial partnerships with companies wishing to license our brands and engage with our fans. Future revenue streams are digital direct-to-fan products and subscriptions.
– Our brands reach a global target group of Gen Z, Y and Millennials who are otherwise very hard to reach through traditional advertising and media. Our commercial partners are major global brands like Unibet, Jack&Jones and HP Omen, exploiting the combination of a strong global fan base which we can excite through unique in-house content.
Could you elaborate on how players are being “traded” between teams and how that structure works? Any similarities to traditional sports like soccer or hockey?
– Our players are all under contract, like any pro team player in traditional sports, and transfers work the same way as in traditional sports. Players are traded or change teams after contract expiration as free agents. For the time being, the most expensive transfers are $2m, but we see that number rise rapidly every year.
Could you tell us a bit on how a normal work week looks for the players in your team?
– It makes no sense to talk about a “normal work week” as we have 3 teams in 3 very different games. In LoL it is very structured with fixed schedules in one global tournament, fixed training, travel to Berlin every weekend – players staying in apartments close to the office, paid by us. Counter-Strike is / has been more like tennis or boxing with a range of different tournaments all over the world, players traveling 150+ days a year and only in the office 4-5 days a month, therefore having to work with the performance team in a very different way, and FIFA is less structured with most games played online – and our players living in Denmark, Israel and Brazil.
What does a typical player contract look like?
– It differs a bit from game to game, but there is always a base salary (for the best players it’s not far from the best paid pro footballers in Scandinavia) and a share of the prize winnings.
How do you work to find new talented players? Any academies, sponsorships etc?
– We have full time analysts following the best players around the globe closely. We track hundreds of parameters and have unique algorithms for profiling what we believe constitutes exceptional players. In League of Legends we have an academy team in Spain, playing in the national Spanish league.
Social media is an important factor for any esports team. Could you elaborate on how Astralis works in these channels and how you communicate with your fans?
– As a media company, we invest significantly in the development of all our digital media channels. This goes for inhouse content creation, hero pieces with either TV-networks or our commercial partners and for the organization with social media managers, staff and creators. We’re presently building new studio facilities in Copenhagen and have access to similar in Spain.
– Social Media is a key tool to build and engage a growing fan base. Just last week, our social media team was awarded with the annual esports “Community Shaker Award”, for: “strengthening our fan engagement, widening our community to reach a new audience, and raise general awareness of esports globally.”
Since being founded in 2016, Astralis has been an absolute powerhouse in CS:GO. What are the main pillars for this quick success?
The question is probably best answered from our prospectus:
“The consistent results and high rankings by Astralis Group’s teams is secured through the unique performance model, which is applied to all teams and players to significantly enhance and stabilize their performance. The model balances three core dimensions into a winning recipe for player and team performance, physical (e.g., nutrition and sleep), mental (e.g., dynamics and profiling), and technical (e.g., skills and playbook). In addition to the standard setup of an esports team, Astralis Group’s performance model also applies team support such as assistant coaches, a sports director, a sports psychologist, a nutritionist, and data analysts. It further provides an experienced and connected organization around commercial opportunities, press, and social media work, which enables the players to concentrate on their main objective: Constantly improving their performance.
The performance model’s application to Astralis has enabled it to become the most successful Counter-Strike team in history with consistent top performance. Implementing the performance model has resulted in a consistent improvement in Astralis’ win-to-loss ratio across all tournaments. Multiple teams have reached the #1 rank, but Astralis is the only team in the world to have sustained a #1 rank for a total of 86 consecutive weeks. Astralis have won the premier tournament, “The Majors”, more times than any other team in history.”
To sum up, why do you think our readers should consider investing in Astralis?
– Astralis Group is a pioneer and market leader in the fastest growing entertainment sector globally. More and more global brands get involved in esports as commercial partners and we see a growing interest for our teams and media. There is a massive undeveloped market for direct-to-fan products and subscriptions, media, and licensing, and we have invested significantly to secure a strong position for an expected upcoming market consolidation.
– Whether or not to invest in Astralis Group is an individual choice, but we strongly believe in our business on the short, medium and long term.