eSports, also known as electronic sports, are a form of video game competitions that primarily take place on multiplayer video game platforms such as FIFA, League of Legends and Counter-Strike. Video game competitions, eSports, were first recorded to take place in the 1970s and obviously were much different to the huge spectacle of lights and video that it is now, but the growth of the sport itself in Asia, ignoring the sports betting aspect, has been astronomical since 2000 with 2015 eSports market generating $325 million of revenue in 2015 and is expected to make $493 million in 2016; the global eSports audience in 2015 was 226 million people.
eSports growth attracted people who wanted to start placing bets on the outcomes of the different multiplayer events, and smaller gambling operators began to satisfy these needs by offering limited betting markets and small margins on the events, which was the start of what we see now – little did they know it at the time.
The key to the success of offering to bet on eSports is going to be down to the presentation and demographics of its offering. Older punters won’t be interested in this for a variable number of reasons, the fact they have never really been involved with video games being a key element too. The younger generations who grew up with the developing video game world and still take part themselves in spare time will be the ones drawn to betting on such games and markets, and the bigger companies would have a harder time to target that kind of demographics due to the sheer number of customers registered with them.
Smaller companies, where the betting started, have a better chance of pushing this to the right audience, but then the problem they have is attracting the audience in the first place – the catch22 of the betting world, the big operators can’t satisfy the marketing or advertising needs to get eSports across, and the smaller operators who can do this can’t attract the actual customers against the competition of the bigger players.
Naturally, the bigger operators will still take a lot of bets by those who find the markets themselves, as they will access the websites with intent of doing so, but they may well have the harder task of becoming the biggest provider or most attractive provider of eSports due to the areas they can’t focus towards.
Chances are that eSports are going to grow more, become more popular and become a cornerstone of any established or developing company due to the attractiveness of the sporting display. They aren’t athletes like boxers, filled with stamina like football players or built like an NFL tight end, but the spectacle of eSports with the lights, the cameras, the action, the draw is getting too much for people to resist – and when you add betting into that already pulsating mix, you’ve got the recipe for a real gem of a niche market industry powerhouse.
There’s speculation from insiders of eSports that for betting, partnerships will be required or will be what is mostly beneficial for everyone involved in the industry. The smaller bespoke providers of betting on eSports can use there means of marketing to the right demographics alongside the pull and customer base of a bet365 or Betfair to create an eSports monster – a money-spinning draw that would be hard to beat with any other sport regardless of popularity.