EGR Intel (EGR): Why did you feel it was necessary to upgrade and enhance your esports solution?
Malte Hegeler (MH): Most of the players who are now looking for something else to bet on are not really interested in, or familiar with, MOBA (Multi Battle Online Arena) or other esports titles – so it was necessary to add titles which transfer players who are football, tennis and basketball fans to esports. So that was the main reason we saw it as an absolute must to add FIFA and NBA 2K.
EGR: Have operators been keen to sign up with EveryMatrix following the upgrade?
MH: They have been extremely eager. Operators that already had our traditional esports offering which, quantity and quality wise, is bigger compared with other B2B competitors, noticed that these titles were not highly profiting from the lack of regular sports events.
As soon as they saw that we were adding a huge quantity of FIFA and NBA events, they were very pleased to sign up. I also want to mention Counterstrike’s CS:GO which is doing really well. This proves that classic esports titles can find a lot of fans even within the traditional sports bettors, if the titles are easy to understand, like CS:GO and also Rainbow Six.
Ebbe Groes (EG): In absolute and relative terms, the segment has grown a lot. We are now nearing 50% of the turnover on our sportsbook going to esports and that is for clients which have both traditional sports and esports.
It is a remarkable willingness for players to embrace esports compared to what they are used to.
EGR: What separates EveryMatrix’s solution to operators from other suppliers?
MH: We have more events than most competitors have, and we also reacted very quickly in setting up NBA and FIFA offerings.
EG: The first is our number of events. The second is showing we have a good coverage across many markets and the third is the streams which we have worked a lot on.
Streaming is one area where the betting experience is better than normal because you can have the stream in a browser on your phone as you are betting. This is where esports really stands out in that we can almost always get a high-quality, real-time stream.
I think these are the main things when it comes to the offering where we have done a lot of work and, by now, I think we stand out.
MH: Additionally, a key advantage with FIFA is that the big teams are always playing. On our product players will nearly always find Liverpool or Real Madrid playing, against an opponent of the same calibre.
This will be, for quite a few players, more attractive to bet on than Romanian second division or Indonesian first division.
EG: You can bet live on Liverpool on a Wednesday afternoon instead of whatever event might be going on at that time. The calendar and the immediacy will really benefit it. It is a very different experience to casino or virtual sports where it is very clear you are betting against a computer.
Once you start trying this you get a feel for the fact that this is an actual sport with serious players sitting there controlling the teams.
EGR: Could your already short integration period be further shortened due to increasing demand in the current climate?
EB: Yes, it is possible, but it very much depends on the client. We have done it in five days in the past.
It is standard API, so for us we don’t have to do very much. We have to do some scanning and customise the user interface to fit the client. This is normally something that we can do in two days.
We customise the front-end at the same time as we connect to your wallets for seamless integration and we put a tab onto your website and it’s done. It can be done in a week or even less.
EGR: Are there plans to add more titles to your esports offering? Is there a demand for even more products?
MH: Very soon we will have ‘ehockey’ and ‘etennis’, and we are looking into other titles as well.
Ice hockey is not in the top three or four for traditional sports turnover for us, but the amount of hockey esports events is quite high. They are short matches and people can place bets in a couple of minutes on different matches.
EGR: How successful has the partnership with Luckbox been, seeing as it is an esports specialist betting platform?
MH: They are a very interesting partner as they were one of the first dedicated esports clients. We gave them the chance to influence a lot of product development. There has been a lot of communication between us to optimise our offering.
EG: With Luckbox, the biggest impact has been working with someone for many months that knew the domain very well. We give a lot of credit to Luckbox for being a good and demanding client.
They are a more dedicated – more niche if you like – esports company, but if it hadn’t been for them, we would have inferior products. They have helped us a lot and put us in a good position.
EGR: Do you have any new clients on the horizon?
EG: One of the interesting new clients is Mybet which is a large German operator. This is a really good deal, both because it is a large and well-known brand and because it is a massive win for us to land somebody who is on the Kambi platform.
I think we have four or five other signings that have happened recently which will be released soon.
EGR: Do you think there is an eventual glass ceiling to esports’ growth?
MH: In the long term, esports cannot fail. There are hundreds of millions of young people growing up now with major titles. Esports will continue to grow and will, for sure, stay much higher than it was before the coronavirus crisis.
EG: Esports has unique things to offer that players will appreciate. One thing is of course the streaming so you can see it, but also the immediacy. Some of these games are built to last for a much shorter time and this makes it possible to bet on a game and get a result much faster. Esports is much better at this than traditional sports.
EGR: Where do you see the esports space in the sports betting world post-Covid 19?
EG: We believe that that this will have permanent effects. The situation has driven a lot of players over to esports. Now that they’re there, we believe that they will appreciate, like and stay with the product.
We have seen a very good growth and while the relative share will drop when sports come up, we think the absolute levels will stay high. I don’t think people will just migrate away and not care about NBA 2K or FIFA games anymore.
We think that they will try it, they will like it and they will keep coming back.
The original version of this interview has been published by EGR Intel on April 16, 2020, under the title The growing appeal of esports.
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