Also speaking at the Kambi Festival of Sportsbook was Abios Founder and CEO Oskar Fröberg. He delivered the ‘Betting for the next generation’ event, explaining how the esports industry has merely scratched the surface of what is possible in terms of betting.
Issues such as esports audience, revenue trends, popularity and what the future holds were all discussed.
Fröberg kicked off the discussion with a brief look into the current state of affairs in esports, explaining there are 532 million fans within the industry, with that audience expected to grow to 640.8 million by 2025.
And that audience is largely much younger than that of traditional sports, with 30% of the esports audience falling within the 25-34 years-old age bracket. As noted by Fröberg, it is a digitally native audience that is open to trying things online, and is used to purchasing services online.
The $1.4bn revenue of the esports market, meanwhile, is expected to grow with a 13.4% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) over the next three to five years. Further differences within the exciting industry involve broadcasting platforms and tournament organisers.
With regards to the former, Twitch, YouTube, and less so Facebook Gaming are the most significant broadcasting platforms for esports, while PGL, Blast Pro and Riot Games are the leading tournament organisers.
As suggested by Fröberg, the audience and revenue situations have combined to create a positive future for esports.
“Not only is the amount of fans and the actual viewership base and player base growing significantly, but the revenue per fan in the ecosystem is also growing,” he said.
“So you have sort of a dual engine for growth, which will provide really great prospects for the industry as a whole, and for any actor in the industry that is successful or is able to build a business around the industry.”
He also touched on the more tangible reasons behind this growing popularity in esports, beginning with the idea that it provides players with the availability to communicate and interact with people from all over the world; with consumers gaining access to everything that is great about traditional sports, but this time in a digital format.
Moreover, esports updates at a rapid rate, and is constantly bringing new and exciting features to watch, with border-crossing fan bases, teams and tournaments making it a truly global phenomenon.
The Abios Founder and CEO was eager to point out that there is a distinct difference between esports and more traditional sports such as football, basketball, tennis, golf, etc, with audience again a major factor.
He noted: “We do not believe esports and t sports – or traditional sports – are the same. The reason is twofold; one, the audience is younger, more digitally native, and it’s a newer form of audience. And two, as the games are inherently digital, there are other opportunities and ways of going about building products on top of esports.
“We think esports should be brought into the sportsbook as a modular experience, either as a standalone product or as a product within the sportsbook, but one that is customised to the esports viewer and experience. We do not think the esports experience should look exactly the same as a hockey, tennis or football product, for example.”
Another major difference between the worlds of esports and traditional sports, as explained by Fröberg, is data gathering. With the latter, it involves scouting, whereby someone watches a match or event and logs whatever is happening.
But in esports there is another means, known as server data, which “allows for way more granularity, way faster data and way more detailed data points,” noted Fröberg. “So we can basically connect to the servers and understand everything that’s going on at any point in time.
“We will essentially have every single data point on every single movement, mouse click – whatever is going on in the server. Obviously in order to get such access, we need to have rights agreements with either the game publisher or with tournament organisers, and that’s something we work towards. Just like you would need to buy the data rights in traditional sports, you need to buy the data rights in esports.”
With such a process, he explained, it is highly important – particularly when building an odds product – to have the fastest, most granular and most reliable data.