Evgeniy Bekker, BETER Esports’ General Manager, talks to Esports Insider to discuss how major sports tournaments affect esports betting and how operators can use these events to bolster potential offerings.
Such is the pull of esports, that streams of big esports tournament finals have millions of fans all over the world glued to their screens. In some cases, esports tournaments can even attract similar levels of attention that are seen from big events in the ’traditional’ sporting world.
Whilst there is this pseudo rivalry and comparison between the two sectors, esports and sports fanbases aren’t entirely separate entities. In fact, if you dive deep into the trends, one can see a significant overlap in certain types of events that interest fans, especially from a betting standpoint. Thus, far from competing, esports and sports complement each other.
Esports is growing at breakneck speed. According to statistics from Newzoo, esports revenue is projected to reach $1.61bn by 2024 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.1% for 2019-2024. Newzoo also predicted that esports viewership would grow by 10% to 728.8m viewers in 2021 and that the global gaming live-streaming audience would reach 830.3m by 2024, with a CAGR of 9.2% for the period 2019-2024.
With the above in mind, it’s crucial to build a bridge between the worlds of esports and traditional sports so both can coexist and complement one another. Football can be that bridge.
The recently concluded FIFA World Cup in Qatar saw nearly 3m fans from all over the globe descend on the country to watch the crème de la crème of international football. It goes without saying that the World Cup, like other such events, is a powerful driver of not just economic growth, but also the popularisation of sport as a whole.
Moreover, hype and increased interest around major sporting events regularly attract casual punters to sportsbooks. This interest could create a gateway into esports betting through the form of efootball competitions.
How can efootball benefit from ‘traditional’ football tournaments?
There are a few things to consider here. Firstly, efootball itself is based on the original game. In other words, all the rules and mechanics of efootball are the same as those in real football. So, it’s easy for fans to place bets on their favourite team in virtual competitions using a preferred betting website. As a result, many bookmakers have spotted this untapped potential and added efootball to their platforms. This, in turn, has increased bettor engagement by providing bettors with a multitude of options when it comes to their bets.
This year, there were several days when all of the major leagues had to break due to the World Cup. Naturally, this led to a reduced offering of events on bookmaker’s websites, forcing betting operators to find similar, appealing alternatives. Efootball presented itself as an ideal solution, filling the void left by the interrupted fixtures which have moved, as well as keeping bettors invested. This same shift was also seen when multiple football competitions had to be postponed due to the COVID pandemic a couple of years ago. As a result, football simulation video games took centre stage
The increased sense of excitement you feel when an event has concluded also prompts some to keep looking for things to bet on when there aren’t currently any matches taking place. According to data from BETER’s clients, the number of bets placed on ESportsBattle|Football events, which is part of the BETER‘s esports offering, increased by an average of 22% during EURO 2020. Similar growth during this year’s World Cup was also noticed.
Being powered by BETER, a leading betting content and data provider, ESportsBattle is an international esports organizer, which conducts efootball, ebasketball, ehockey, CS:GO and Dota 2 tournaments, which are streamed in over 150 countries. Each month, BETER provides more than 25,000 events through ESportsBattle, alongside offering live streaming, live data and odds for all tournaments.
Due to increasing bettor engagement during major traditional sports events, some companies can also increase their relevance by leaning into sporting tournaments.
To further pique bettors’ interest during the World Cup, BETER added daily tournaments within ESportsBattle|Football, where esports professionals played as national teams. In some cases, bettors could watch the action unfold while they were waiting for the real World Cup matches to hit their screens.
It’s also worth noting that all of ESportsBattle’s efootball tournaments include 2×4/2×6 variations and ‘VOLTA League’ competitions, as well as using the latest next-gen consoles, in order to boost its offerings.
Why do esports tournaments complement traditional sports tournaments so well for betting operators?
Having 24/7 access to content from a betting operator increases engagement among bettors who want to be entertained when it suits them. Having fast efootball matches means that more bets are placed over a shorter period of time when compared to a ‘real’ football match.
This has been a game changer in the betting world, as next-gen players don’t always want to wait 90 minutes for bets to be settled. Moreover, this type of content not only gives bettors more to choose from but also makes the whole process more accessible.
Finally, providing esports offering that traditional bookmakers can understand creates a gateway to the world of competitive gaming. Bookmakers may be more willing to branch into esports offerings if it is with a product that the company is more aware of. This could lead to the bookmaker looking at more mainstream esports titles in the future.
Written in collaboration with BETER.