Better Collective: high ambitions backed by a visionary strategy

Better Collective: high ambitions backed by a visionary strategy

Better Collective’s Capital Markets Day offered a rare opportunity for industry observers and partners to gain a glimpse into the firm’s thoughts and ambitions. Jesper Søgaard was in fine form as he outlined his vision of the past, present and future.

2023 has so far been a flyer of a year for digital sports media group Better Collective. The firm opened FY2023 trading with yet another consecutive record-breaking quarter, underpinning the success of what it has described as a strategic business shift and M&A strategy. 

The firm’s Q1 results stand as testimony to a bullish outlook presented in its recent Capital Markets Day event, during which the industry was allowed some valuable insights and perspectives on its plans, ambitions and future vision.

Investors and industry observers were treated to a packed agenda from key executives led by Better Collective CEO and Co-Founder Jesper Søgaard, who dished up some fascinating thoughts on the business and its direction of travel.

“We have a global audience of more than 150 million monthly visits coming into all our brands. That’s a big number,” he told delegates. “If we dive into how that spreads out you will see we have more than 30 million monthly visits coming to our different local sports media brands – meaning a site that caters to the Greek market, or a site that caters to the Danish market.”  

Switching focus to international interests, he continued: “If we go specifically to the US, which is a very big market opportunity for Better Collective, we are also in a leading position with the brands we own there. We have Action Network, Vegas Insider and numerous others and a total of 20 million visits coming to our brands there.

“Then we have the global part of our portfolio, meaning English language sites, where the audience will come from all over the world. And within this group we have some very big esports brands and we have a reach of more than 100 million monthly visits coming to that part of the portfolio of brands.”     

Søgaard added: “We have done numerous acquisitions since 2018; 28 to be precise, and we own these leading esports communities. This is the foundation from which we believe we can still continue to grow and we can aspire to become the leading digital sports media group.”

Turning to Better Collective’s strategy and vision, the CEO told delegates: “We have a lot of expertise with buying exciting businesses and making sure they function better within the Better Collective umbrella. As I also alluded to earlier on, we feel a sense that many founders buy into our vision of a leading digital sports media group.

“Let me just simply take it word-by-word. Why sports? Sport has that very, very unique ability to bring people together. And it’s not really related to where you’re from – what kind of life you live. People come together to watch sports and engage with sports. And the other rare capability of sport is that it’s in the moment. 

“It’s also a very, very big market. To be honest I was surprised when I saw the numbers you see here. So I think we have something really unique here with this unbelievably big market where people engage and are in the moment. 

“And then we are zooming in on the digital part of all of this. Because we have learned from starting Better Collective all those years back is that we have always had a very nice tailwind of underlying growth because more and more came online. And it’s still happening to this day. It will continue to happen. So it’s really supporting the underlying growth and ability to invest in this area and business.”

Moving his attention to the media segment of Better Collective, Søgaard placed the spotlight on revenue. “Last year we had revenue of just about 270m euros,” he explained. “Even in our legacy market – the bread and butter that created the company – sports betting affiliation. We’re the market leader there. And we have approximately four to five per cent market share. That’s not a lot, especially considering we are the market leader in that. 

“If you then take all of the advertising sportsbooks do, then we are down to one to two per cent. And we are feeling we are extremely relevant for that. Already now, and we have been for several years. So there’s much growth still to be had, just with what I would call the core and legacy part of our business.

“Where it then gets exciting – and I really don’t dare put a number on this – is when you venture into the media part of sports. All the sports ongoing, the interest shown around that, the brands that want to advertise and get exposure towards sport. Brands like Coca Cola, Red Bull. All of these big global ones – including MasterCard which is actually already a customer of ours. They want to engage with an audience that has a passion for sport.”

He added: “Take a look at the audience of HLTV which is one of the leading esports media. We own the brand which has similar authority within CS:GO as FIFA has in football. And we want to go esport by esport, country by country to scoop up all these leading digital sports media assets. And that is unlocking this really exciting opportunity.”

Søgaard went on to talk more about Better Collective’s market position in relation to its peers and his excitement at the potential to take a lead in the space. “We have a leader – ESPN – they have 700 million monthly visits to their online channels,” he said. “So we are not the market leader in this area. 

“We’re roughly 5x from getting to their position. It’s a challenge which excites me and, at the same time, it feels like we can do that. A vision 10 years out, I truly believe that we can get to that position in terms of the audience that we have. 

“And we are already now on par with Sky Sports, Yahoo Sports, more or less, in terms of the reach we have within the digital sports media space. And in terms of 10 years-plus potential, again this is I think an opportunity for Better Collective. For Christian (Kirk Rasmussen) and me it has always been about the 10x. 10x we can do with this vision; it’s exciting!”   

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