Big question: the future of eSports

After enjoying rapid growth throughout the early stages of the pandemic, what does the future look like for esports?

Malte Hegeler, CEO, OddsMatrix – EveryMatrix

Firstly, it is important to recognise exactly how transformative the pandemic was for esports betting. Our own research showed that the shutdown of live sports resulted in this vertical growing 40 times over. The extraordinary bubble of esports betting did not suddenly pop once the Premier League and other major sports resumed operations, either. We have found on our platform that betting revenues on esports events are nine times higher than they were in the pre-pandemic era. One industry-wide report predicted that the esports betting market will be worth more than $13bn by 2025, up from $800m in 2019.

Clearly, a large reservoir of potential for esports betting remained untapped prior to last year. Sports-themed games events that emerged onto betting platforms proved an extremely popular option for bettors, with the knowledge barrier for understanding the mechanics behind FIFA and NBA2K contests easily overcome. These simulation titles remain popular mass-market choices within today’s sportsbooks, as quick-fire matches from across the world constantly take place around the clock.

With the more traditional esports disciplines, such as CS:GO, their ascent into the mainstream has been less dramatic but no less impressive. Once a niche pastime, competitive gaming now commands massive sponsorship deals, huge prize pools and is covered on major TV channels. While Dota2 might not ordinarily pique the interest of a Premier League fan, the $40m prize pool on offer in The International this year certainly provides a point of intrigue for many who would not typically take in a major esports tournament. Many football fans will also have been interested enough in Jesse Lingard’s recent purchase of a Rainbow Six Siege team – rebranded as JLINGZ esports– to take a close look at the game mechanics on YouTube. The patronage of global sporting superstars does not stop there and also includes Sergio Aguero (founder and CEO of KRÜ Esports), Gareth Bale (Founder of Ellevens Esports) and David Beckham (Co-owner of Guild Esports).

Unfortunately, the traditional sports betting world for some time turned a blind eye to the continued ascent of CS:GO, League of Legends and similar titles. This is out of a lack of understanding of the genre and its devotees, who sit outside of the demographic that enjoys regular sports betting. What is needed is for true esports market knowledge to be integrated within a reliable and quick sportsbook platform, to appeal to a generation that sees little or no difference between esports stars on Twitch and football superstars on the pitch.

That deal points to one of the major challenges that still needs to be resolved within esports: the lack of reliable data from below the top level, both on the teams and from the organisers of tournaments. While the likes of the ESL are very well-served with credible data, the next tier of esports events – which are still very popular – features semi-professional players who can suddenly quit mid-season, making it difficult to build reliable pre-match markets, and with inferior in-game data.

Ultimately, operators entering the esports space need to select a solution that is comprehensive, powered by people who hold a deep understanding of the vertical and who can offer partners the widest range of compelling products. At OddsMatrix, our enhanced platform currently features more than 50,000 live events every month across over 370 tournaments and with 95 different bet types. Those numbers are constantly growing. Operators also benefit from real-time odds, stats, scores, settlements and automated trading, as well as the option for operators to configure their own odds to customise profit margin. The future growth and continued development of esports betting is guaranteed, so selecting the right partner now can ensure operators get on the front foot, to stake a claim in a vertical that is only  just getting started.

 Malte Hegeler leads the product development for EveryMatrix across all its sports products. Having a deep understanding of bookmakers’ needs, thanks to his 10+ years of experience in trading and sportsbook development, Hegeler is a key contributor to the recent revamp of OddsMatrix’s front-end and back-end capabilities, as well of the launch of the Esports Services in 2019.

The original version of this article was published by Gambling Insider under the title Big Question

Ready to Start a Conversation?

The key for us as a true B2B iGaming software provider is to help gaming operators implement bold ideas and unleash unlimited creativity.

Everything is possible.
Contact us