Team Heretics begins a new stage in 2023 after managing to enter the LEC and the Valorant world league. The club is reinforcing its sales team and the first signing was that of Borja De Altolaguirre, formerly of PSG and the NBA, to lead this department. All this after closing the largest round of financing for a Spanish esports organization, which was used to pay the close to 35 million to enter the LEC. The identity of its investors is not yet known, although one of the main ones is an American businessman who owns other sports organizations.
It is the first investor yankee who enters a Spanish esports club. Until now, the only foreign capital that had made this leap was when OverActive Media, a Canadian listed company, bought MAD Lions in 2018. The percentage of capital that it has acquired is unknown, but Antonio Catena, co-founder and CEO, explains to this medium that ” the four founders maintain the majority shareholding and executive control, with a majority on the board”.
Catena, Arnau Vidal, Jorge Orejudo (Goorgo) and David Casanovas (The Grefg) they have always held 51% of the capital. The club will announce the identity of the investors who have participated in the round in the coming months. All the partners that were already in its capital have also attended, some of them incorporated after the absorption of Cream Esports. Its about family office from the Koplowitz family, Brand Equity Capital, All Iron Ventures, Sancor Capital and the marketing agency You First, as well as multiple business angels.
Catena stresses that “the fact that we have been able to retain executive control of the club is a sign of the confidence of the shareholders.” The club has given benefits since its foundation, as reflected in the accounts deposited in the Mercantile Registry. The year 2022 will be the only one that closes with a negative result, although the fiscal year has not yet finished.
“We have never had a negative result, but this year, with the investment made in assets such as the two physical spaces that we have in Madrid and the purchase of the LEC square, it makes it such a strong amortization that it has been impossible to do so. in a single year,” says Catena. Billing for 2022 will be 4.5 million, although it could reach 5 million depending on whether the audit allows the benefits derived from investments in stocking for equitya business line launched last year.
The club’s turnover has risen by 50% in 2022, and by 2023 it expects to double it, up to 10 million euros. Catena points out that “it must come from the organic growth of the club, but another important part will come from the distribution of the leagues when entering the LEC and Valorant, and from the greater international presence, which will allow us to increase sponsorship income.”
That is where the signing of De Altolaguirre comes into play as chief commercial officer, which must respond to the new challenges of the club at a European level. The manager has worked for the last year as a global sponsorship development consultant at PSG. He had previously spent nearly seven years in the NBA, where he became senior director of global sponsorships in Latin America. He also has experience in esports after being an advisor to the ESL subsidiary in Spain in the area of sponsorships and going through Konami in different positions.
Heretics is still expanding its commercial team led by De Altolaguirre. The management team is complemented by Nacho Tena, who became a shareholder and director of operations in 2022; Diego Soro, director of strategy; and David Peinado, revenue director. In total, the club has more than a hundred workers between Berlin and Madrid.
In the absence of knowing the sponsorship strategy that the club will develop, one of the main points will be to split assets. Heretics will bet on different brands depending on the type of competition they play, and also the territory, if it is European or Spanish. In this way, it hopes to maintain traditional partners such as San Miguel, Gfuel, Grefusa, Lion, Qoala or Logitech, and give entry to other brands seeking international impact. Proof of this is the new contract with Lenovo, which was already the main sponsor and is now increasing its contribution and extending it to another of the group’s brands, Motorola.
Finally, Catena stresses that “not only entering European competitions positions us before the brands, nor does it win”. “Esports clubs have to know how to combine sports results, and therefore enter the LEC or Valorant, with a presence on social networks. We are the most followed club in Spanish-speaking and the fourth in the world, we have a community that supports the project and that is what makes us attractive both to brands and to Riot, which has valued what we can offer in terms of audiences in their leagues.”