eSports 2023: Taking Your Game Coverage to the Next Level!
The explosion of esports within the last few years has been exciting to watch as operators expand their horizons and move into this highly dynamic sector. However, in order to remain competitive in this vertical, operators must be sure to offer the best esports portfolio and engagement betting opportunities for their customers.
We caught up with Max Sevostianov, Chief Commercial Officer for BetBazar to hear his thoughts on the future of esports and most importantly, how operators can leverage their extensive portfolio to maximise their esports audience and create sustainable growth within this vertical well into the future.
BETBAZAR offers a pretty comprehensive level of eSports coverage when compared to more traditional game aggregators. Was it a conscious decision for the company to specialise in this area?
“We consider eSports to be a crucial component of an operator’s line-up these days, so strengthening the services that we offer has been a key focus. Whereas for casino we mainly offer content, for sports and eSports we sell both content and trading. For the events that we cover, we normally package this with trading included, which gives us another way to support our customers. On top of that, BETBAZAR offers a global eSports data feed on all the biggest championships such as the Majors and the International. Provided by our exclusive partner, this means clients have access to the official data to ensure they get the highest possible uptime and a very stable margin across all their markets.”
Looking specifically at the eSports events that you cover, what are the main games offered and roughly how many markets are available in total? How will you try to extend this line-up in future?
“In terms of the events that we sell directly, we cover eFootball (FIFA), eBasketball (NBA) and eHockey (NHL), as well as FPS games like CS:GO and battle royal titles such as DOTA 2. For all of these different disciplines, BETBAZAR promotes not only the content itself, but also the trading on these events. In terms of available markets, it really depends on the game. For eFootball, for example, we can provide more than 40 betting markets and the content is also available 24/7. This is really our eSports headliner because the match duration is very short and more events can be provided monthly. Naturally, at BETBAZAR we’re always looking to extend our line-up of eSports events and hope to add many new games in future. According to Statista, the global eSports market was valued at $1.22 billion USD in 2021 and is expected to grow to $5.48 billion USD by 2029, so we constantly monitor the player preferences and industry trends to ensure we’re ready to adapt and innovate accordingly.”
Aside from eSports, what are the other main product verticals that BETBAZAR covers and is there anything in particular that you look for when considering which new partners to work with?
“In addition to eSports, BETBAZAR also covers conventional sports betting and casino content – with the latter incorporating many different areas such as live casino and popular new additions such as Aviator and Crash X. When it comes to identifying potential partners, we really go to great lengths to thoroughly review each content provider’s product offering before deciding whether or not to feature it in our marketplace. Of course, we place a big emphasis on selecting products that are fair, reliable and engaging to the end user, but we also try to fully understand the margins and numbers behind them and how these will benefit our clients. This level of care and research really sets us apart from traditional aggregators and allows us to provide a truly bespoke service to our customers.”
What are your thoughts on how eSports betting has grown over the past few years? Do you think it’s an area operators should focus on and can it ever rival sports betting in terms of its popularity?
“We’ve seen a massive explosion in the popularity of eSports over the last few years, and we think the pandemic has played a big role in that. Essentially, during the pandemic, all live sport was stopped and there was nothing for customers to bet on. That, however, didn’t mean that the customers simply went away; instead, they looked for other events that they could bet on and – as online sports didn’t require participants to meet face-to-face – these became an obvious solution. Even now this popularity has been retained and at BETBAZAR we believe eSports has continued to grow to the point where it’s at least on par with regular sports betting. Again, going by Statista reports, worldwide eSports viewer numbers are forecast to reach 728 million by 2025 – which is up from 474 million in 2020. This shows how eSports can compete with other live sports in terms of viewership and engagement and we think operators should focus on them as an area of growth and innovation. For operators, eSports betting can help them attract new customers – especially those from the younger generations that are more familiar with online gaming and digital entertainment – while also helping them diversify their portfolio. For customers, meanwhile, eSports can provide them with more entertainment and satisfaction from their bets, with less waiting in between events.”
What is it about eSports betting that you think particularly appeals to customers? Does the combination of streaming and live betting create a more engaging experience for younger bettors?
“At BETBAZAR, we think the most attractive thing about eSports betting is that you can play fast and check the results of your wagers very quickly. Beyond that, our hypothesis is that another big part of the appeal is that customers feel more connected to the games that they’re betting on. When you’re watching real sports, you pretty much know that you’ll never be able to play at the same level because you don’t have the talent or athleticism to compete. However, when you play eSports, there isn’t that same disconnect. You know that with the right equipment and a little practice, it could be you on the other side of the screen, so you feel closer to the sport. Another factor that makes eSports betting appealing is the combination of streaming and live betting. This allows customers to follow the action as it unfolds and bet on things like who will get the first kill or complete the next objective, creating an engaging and interactive experience for the bettors who watch these games.”
Is there an argument that eSports have created an entry point into betting for gamers that may not previously have been available? How do their preferences differ from traditional sports bettors?
“We think so, yes. One of the main things that appeals to eSports bettors is the huge number of markets that are available. Live sports are obviously limited by the confines of the real world, but with eSports there’s so much more that you can bet on. Rather than just picking which side will win or lose and by how many goals, customers can bet on the result of individual maps and all kinds of in-game events. On top of that, we believe there are too many expert opinions and media previews that influence the bets people place on real sports these days. In eSports, however, there’s less coverage and customers need to know each game inside out to bet on it successfully. You need to know the maps, the heroes and the skills they have, so when you win a bet, it’s a lot more satisfying.”
Do you think that with the off-season approaching and many major live sports about to pause for the summer, now is the ideal time for operators to explore your eSports betting alternatives?
“We think that eSports betting can complement live sports betting very well, as it offers more wagering opportunities for a wider variety of customers. Even when live sports content is available, people are now looking more and more at eSports so they can continue their betting in between matches. Whenever there’s a football championship in real life, there’s also an up-tick in the number of bets placed on eFootball, so it’s not really a case of one or the other. That said, during the times when there’s not a real-life event to bet on, customers do tend to seek out the virtual version of their favourite sport. Therefore, we think operators should always have eSports betting alternatives in their portfolios, as these can help them attract and retain customers all the way through the year. Especially during the off-season – when many live sports aren’t available – eSports can keep customers entertained and provide them with more on-demand options whenever they want to”