Siim Ühtid, Esports Trading Manager at Betgenius, speaks with Gambling Insider about the role esports can play as a substitute for the regular sporting calendar; and what increased exposure could mean for the vertical going forwards.
Does esports remain completely unaffected by the impact of coronavirus, or has it also been limited in some way?
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 outbreak is a real challenge for both the sports and betting industries. The makeup of esports, however, means that rather than suspending action for the foreseeable future, competition organisers can move in-venue LAN tournaments online, to be played remotely. Esports scheduling therefore remains relatively robust and regular. For traders, it’s making up a significant number of the daily events they can price pre-match and in-play right now.
What sort of impact do you see this sportless period having for esports in the future?
To fill the void left by sporting postponements, we’re seeing customers globally, where regulation permits, turn to events involving sport and racing titles, like FIFA and the F1 and NASCAR equivalents. Growing familiarity with these games, the market-types available and where quality live streams are accessible will only be beneficial in the long run.
When the traditional sporting calendar returns, esports could become a staple in customer journeys. Many esports events are played when top-tier sports fixtures aren’t running, making them a viable betting alternative and a potential turnover driver at off-peak times.
For those operators now looking to focus their efforts on an esports offering; what are the most popular esports right now?
While CS:GO, DOTA and League of Legends are the big three by a distance, turnover on pro FIFA events has been on the rise over the last year. This has been driven even further in recent weeks by the shortage of major football. More generally, multiplayer online battle arena and first person shooter games are growing in popularity.
In your opinion, does the marketing of esports betting require a different strategy to that of regular sports betting?
When running esports campaigns, player safety is of the utmost importance. It’s imperative that sportsbooks and agencies across the sector acknowledge this and ensure robust safety measures are in place.
Our Genius Sports Media arm implements manual and automated protocols around category restrictions, domain blacklisting and third-party domain verification to ensure esports marketing is not served to underage individuals. Any site categorised as toys, games and comics for example, is automatically blacklisted.