The CEOs of GODSENT on the Brazilian bet of CSGO: “We immediately understood their value”
Swedish esports organization GODSENT invested in the Brazilian market on January 21, 2021, when it signed a CS: GO roster led by two-time major champion EpitÃ¡cio “TACO” de Melo. Fast forward to the first CS: GO Major in two years and their “long term plan” is already proving to be a strong team, sitting at No. 23 worldwide and participating in the PGL Major Challengers Stage in Stockholm.
As we see more and more esports organizations planting their flags in new regions as they embark on the noble task of “global expansion” – a topic that Dexerto recently discussed with the vice-president. TSM’s president of operations – it’s an expensive and unproven strategy.
There aren’t many strong ties between Swedish esports teams and Brazilian esports fans on paper, but GODSENT, through its CS: GO team and previous explorations into competitive mobile gaming, is looking to break down barriers while seeking to become a world power.
GODSENT co-CEOs Henrik Denebrandt and Ludwig Sandgren signed their Brazilian roster for three years, then strategized around the team as they settled down, through a global health crisis nothing less. They sat down with Dexerto to explain the decision, how their presence in Brazil has treated the organization so far and what the future holds for GODSENT.
Building in Brazil
It has been clear from the start that the team led by TACO is a work in progress. Described as a “long-term project” in their official announcement, the squad includes a mix of “seasoned champions” and “promising young Brazilian talent”. At first glance, it doesn’t make much sense that they are signed by a Swedish organization.
“Especially with such a young team, we knew it would take a while for them to fit in,” Denebrandt said of the three-year contracts the team signed. âA lot of them had never played together. Take a look at Gambit and what they did by committing to time.
âWe didn’t necessarily have a strategy in place with a Brazilian accent in itselfrather, it was this opportunity that arose when we were in a transition period and about to release our previous list on FPX, âSandgren added. âWe had different ideas, we explored other options because we were more of a European organization, but then that opportunity presented itself and we immediately understood that it was of great value. “
As the co-founder of the Brazilian organization LOUD, Matthew Ho, told Dexerto in August 2021: âIn emerging markets, there is no infrastructure, so there are so many more opportunities. South America may not be on par with Europe and North America when it comes to infrastructure and support, but they have a passionate community, and those who build the ecosystem will be handsomely rewarded. .
âBrazil has 200 million people and one of the biggest communities, if not the biggest community, in Counter-Strike, I think it’s the fastest growing gaming country in the world by a lot of people. metric, âDenebrandt said. âThen you take a look at the competition in Europe. For example, tier two and even tier three are very competitive, so it was more of a brand decision. We immediately fell in love with the Brazilian community and we want to make a bigger impact than just HLTV or ESL World Ranking.
Many of the larger esports organizations have yet to develop a business model that makes sense. They are often heavily supported by sponsorship and partnership income, and even these opportunities vary wildly depending on the markets they are targeting.
While Brazil has eyes and passion, it doesn’t have high ad revenue and lucrative $ 210 million partnership opportunities like more established countries and regions.
âThe majority of our partnerships are still in Europe and the Nordic countries,â Denebrandt told Dexerto. âWe are in a war on two fronts here where we want to continue to grow in South America and Europe, and develop even more. The numbers are not yet the same when it comes to partnership income in Brazil compared to Europe, but there are other ways to form good partnerships based on other metrics that we are also looking at. For example, I think we have one of the most engaging teams in the world in Counter-Strike, it adds a lot of value to the brand and our partners.
“The purchasing power of Brazilian fans is much lower, they may not have as much money as the average European fan,” Sandgren explained. âIt affects the price of things like match shirts. However, the numbers can make up for the price change as there can be tens of thousands of orders if you are doing really well. Our aim is to be the best in the world with a Brazilian team, but we hope to use the team to make it interesting for fans all over the world, regardless of their nationality.
âCompare the top 10 teams in Europe and the number of shirts they sell to what we can accomplish in South America,â added Denebrandt. âWe won’t be releasing the numbers, but we recently allowed fans to reserve jerseys and thousands of jerseys have been reserved. There was more demand than we could provide.
Enter new regions
Although esports is often seen as a âglobalâ industry due to its digital nature, there is still work to be done to authentically approach regional audiences and effectively engage local fans. Even logistical factors such as time zones and cultural norms play an important role in ensuring that you get the most out of a particular regional concentration. GODSENT is fully aware of the challenges they face.
âWe now have an office in Sweden for Europe and one in Mexico for South and North America, but we definitely want boots on the ground in other regions, like Asia,â Denebrandt said. about their international activities and plans. âIt’s part of our expansion plans on the road. It is very important to have some groundwork in the areas in which you are involved. Hopefully we can set up something in Brazil as well, whether it’s a game center or a joint venture where we can interact with the fans more.
Over the past six years, South American teams have often found themselves mixed with North American rosters to create an interesting mix of regional play. GODSENT is no exception, having spent most of the year in Monterrey, Mexico, playing against the best teams in the region. Whether their focus on North America was planned or not, GODSENT’s co-CEOs drew inspiration from some of the esports industry’s largest and most influential organizations.
âWe are very inspired by very successful lifestyle organizations like FaZe Clan and 100 Thieves and the way they pack and run their businesses,â said Sandgren. âWe believe we have a brand that, even though it is very young, has the capacity to be a lifestyle brand. It’s definitely something that we talk about at the top-down strategic level as something that we want to move towards. “
While the perceived success of organizations like FaZe and 100T is an inspiration to many owners and managers, it must be said that they have invested a lot of money in it over the years. Esports is in a period of intense investment fueled by venture capital, which almost seems a necessity if these companies are to build something big and meaningful in an industry awash with competing brands.
âOn the business side, we are growing very quickly,â Denebrandt concluded. âThe last three years for us have been amazing in adding new partners and increasing revenues with almost no external funding. I think we are one of the best examples of Moneyball in this industry that you can watch. We have achieved a lot of organic growth over the past three years and that would shock a lot of organizations. “
We’re almost a year into GODSENT’s Brazilian CS: GO bet and judging by their presence at PGL Major, it’s been going pretty well so far. The gap between being the 23rd best team or the However, the team that wins the biggest trophies is big and it looks like the Swedish organization has a lot of ambition that goes far beyond competitive success.