While the recent news cycle has been dominated by what some have dubbed the most dramatic week in history for English football, one small-cap company was cashing in on developments in quite a different part of the sporting world.
Gfinity Plc (LON:GFIN), which provides media and broadcasting services for the burgeoning esports industry, saw its shares jump 16% to 4.5p this week after it signed a partnership deal with HP Omen, the gaming arm of computing giant Hewlett-Packard, for a second season of The Esports Report, a series that covers the latest news from across the sport (think Match of the Day but for video gaming).
Gfinity will be responsible for content production, sourcing guests and presenters, securing gaming footage, scripting shows and co-coordinating filming. The episodes themselves will then be shown on Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon-owned online streaming platform Twitch.
Despite having existed since the early 2000s, faster internet speeds and the availability of free online multiplayer games such as Fortnite mean esports has exploded in the last decade. This year it is finally expected to surpass $1 billion in revenues.
While many would baulk at the idea of video games being considered anything close to a sport, the audience figures aren’t to be sniffed at with the final of the 2018 League of Legends World Championship drawing in nearly 100 million viewers and some lucrative sponsorship deals to boot.
With numbers like that, it might not be long before the phrase ‘Premier League’ refers to Fortnite contests rather than football.
Elsewhere during the week, biodegradable plastics group Symphony Environmental Technologies PLC (LON:SYM) scored something of a victory over regulators after the European Commission dropped plans for restrictions on the type of product it makes, sending shares 50 per cent higher to 10.5p.
Meanwhile, a strong second quarter sent shares in Premier Technical Services Group PLC (LON:PTSG) surging 7.9 per cent higher to 75.5p. The group, which provides products that protect buildings from electrical surges, said sales had remained robust in the period while its recently-acquired Guardian and Trinity businesses were performing ahead of expectations.
Not wanting to be left out, Rambler Metals & Mining PLC (LON:RMM) shot up 75 per cent to 3.2p after reporting a 70 per cent increase in saleable gold from its Nugget Pond facility in Newfoundland in the first quarter of 2019.
The AIM All-Share was 1.3 per cent lower in the week at 958 points, while the FTSE 100 dropped 1.7 per cent to 7,258.
Among the fallers, shares in hygiene group Byotrol PLC (LON:BYOT) looked worse for wear, sinking 7.2 per cent to 2.2p after the firm predicted a heavier than expected loss for its latest financial year.
Virtual reality music group EVR Holdings PLC (LON:EVRH) also found itself out of tune with investors after losses in its full year results widened to £11.4mln from £6.2mln, sending the shares 23 per cent lower to 3p.
Elsewhere, AIM 100 estate agent Purplebricks Group PLC (LON:PURP) crumbled, falling 21 per cent to 107p after it hit shareholders will a triple whammy of a chief executive departure, an exit from the Australian market and a strategic review of its US operations.
Another heavy plunger was Frontier Smart Technologies Group Limited (LON:FST), which saw its shares tumble 38 per cent to 13.1p after increased competition dented the performance of its digital radio division and forced the firm to issue a profit warning for its current year.