We sat down (virtually) with Jake Bannister, one of the co-founders of GGRecon, a leading news-site in gaming and esports, to find out more about the company’s journey and plans for growth.
Why was the business started?
For years, esports has been getting bigger and bigger. Everyone within the gaming industry knew it, the enthusiasts knew it, but for some reason publishers were not seeing its potential. Now, it is impossible to ignore.
As many companies scramble to get a piece of the action, especially now as lockdown has led to tremendous growth, GGRecon was ahead of the curve. Back in 2019, one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and founder of Betfred, Fred Done, was hearing so much about esports that he wanted to see how he could make an impact.
Chris Young (GGRecon’s Managing Director) was the Head of Lotto, Virtual, and Esports across both retail and online at the time. Fred knew his history of innovation, delivery and levels of creativity and passion, as Chris had worked for Betfred for several years, Fred asked what we could do to make a difference in the esports industry.
I was working with Chris on his product team at the time, and we got to work immediately. Both of us are huge gaming and esports fans, and as a result we spent months researching, having discussions through general consultancy and at conferences, and deliberating. Eventually, we found that esports media in particular was such an open space to not only make a dint but to really be unique. With that, we pitched the idea in July and launched GGRecon in December 2019.
How are we different?
That is the million-pound question and is something that is always in the forefront of our minds when we produce content, as well as hire new staff. We have recently optimised our business strategy, which is being put into action at the moment, but it is constantly being reviewed to reflect the ever-changing landscape of esports in general.
Something that has always been at the heart of our company is focusing on esports storytelling and really engaging our audience of die hard esports fans. We really want to augment the fans’ experience through our content and speak to them directly. To put it short, no one provides long-form editorial content for esports in written form. As the audience has grown to be more mature over recent years, they are crying out for this type of content.
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What have we learnt?
A lot, although most importantly I feel like in a very unsaturated and new market such as esports, fans do not know what they want yet. The space is that fresh and there is a lot we can take from social publications such as LADbible, as well as your traditional outlets, to give a fresh mix to speak to the fans directly while still being credible. We ensure that we use analytics, as well as taking on board feedback directly from our audience, to get a good understanding of what kind of things they want to see more of, and sometimes less.
What are our plans for growth?
We’re putting a lot of focus into social; we have amassed over 36,000 followers on Facebook in a short period of time, have a network of 50,000 Twitter followers, and are successfully growing Instagram and TikTok audiences.
We also focus on SEO and gaining organic traffic. We have editorial staff all over the world, ranging anywhere from Russia to Pakistan and the US. Our main office is based in Manchester, and we are lucky enough to have incredibly talented staff in-house. We have ensured that our diversified team is full of people that are passionate about the industry, as this reflects in the content that we produce. We are authentic, and that’s something we will always stay true to in our vision. In the near future we’ll be running some exciting marketing campaigns, so watch this space!
Photo: GGRecon Head of Ops Jake Bannister, Betfred Founder Fred Done & GGRecon Managing Director Chris Young