X7 Esports Case Study

20 June 2020

X7 Esports was a professional esports organisation founded in late 2020 on the Isle of Man. X7 achieved significant success as a team and became a globally recognised broker for East Asian talent into Western franchise leagues. Home to several players who had previously competed in the LCK, LCS, and LEC franchises, establishing X7 was not without its challenge, including the creation of strong branding and providing adequate support infrastructure in a highly competitive industry. We sit down with Josh Kingett, the Founder & CEO of X7 to find out more.   

Please tell us a little bit about X7 – what is it, and when was it set up?

X7 Esports was a professional esports organisation founded in late December 2020 on the Isle of Man; the company first gained traction following several accomplishments which included an undefeated thirteen win-streak during its debut, securing the world’s first government sponsorship and being featured by Forbes, amongst other global media outlets. X7 became the top rated, non-franchised, League of Legends team in Northern Europe (UK, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark & Finland), finishing 1st and 2nd Place during Spring and Summer respectively during 2022.

More recently headquartered in Stratford, London, X7 established itself as a globally recognised broker for East Asian talent into Western franchise leagues. X7 was home to several players who had previously competed in the LCK (South Korean), LCS (North American) and LEC (European) franchises, including those who had appearances, and won, on the World Championship stage.

What were the key challenges that you faced when establishing X7?

Taking X7 from an idea to reality meant overcoming a number of challenges, made harder by the fact it was done as an individual effort from the beginning. Firstly, creating a strong marketing strategy, so that X7 had a recognisable brand identity and social media presence, was key to our success as a newly founded team. Considering the level of competition we were starting at (United Kingdom Esports League, UKEL), physical infrastructure such as gaming facilities and the provision of equipment wasn’t commonplace, meaning our attention was instead focused on other forms of support such as coaching and online resources or tools.

Funding was, and always will be, a challenge for up-and-coming esports organisations like X7, that aren’t born into existence with the financial backing of an investor, professional athlete or celebrity personality. I managed to cut costs significantly by undertaking the majority of the workload initially:- this included scouting, negotiations, on-boarding, web development, apparel design, brand strategy, logo design, pitching to sponsors, and much more.

How did being based in the Isle of Man make the process easier? What level of support did they offer?

Registering X7 Esports on the Isle of Man and working with a local corporate service provider (CSP) was an invaluable experience for me and my business partners. Alongside guidance from our chosen CSP, we were also assigned a dedicated account manager from Digital Isle of Man – an Executive Agency of the Government’s Department for Enterprise; they helped ensure all of our regulatory needs were met and offered to make certain introductions. The Island has a decorated history within other digital sectors such as eGaming, Fintech & Blockchain, and this expertise was evident when speaking with local businesses.

What would you tell someone looking to start or grow an esports business?

The esports industry is undergoing what many would refer to as a ‘correction period’ following the COVID19 pandemic. Whilst it’s tough to see prominent organisations crumble and lay off their staff, there are countless lessons to be learnt from how they arrived at that position – some factors unavoidable and others well within their control. I would recommend studying these businesses and figure out what worked and what didn’t; I can’t stress enough the importance of market research – especially in such a fast-paced industry. With the right people around you, paired with the willingness to learn and adapt, I’d encourage anyone to give it a shot.

If you want to find out more about X7 Esports, you can visit their website here