iGaming 2022: How to Bridge the Gap Between Sportsbook and Native Esports

There’s no doubt that the destiny of esports lies firmly in the hands of the gaming publishers and tournament organisers. As the official owners of the game and player data, building strong relationships with this sector of the market is imperative to the future of online esports betting growth.

Bayes Esports seem to be making great strides forward in bridging the gap between sportsbook and native esports organisations, helping to bring a much-needed level of credibility to the market.

Most recently demonstrated with their exclusive partnership extension with the world’s leading esports company and tournament organiser, ESL. The strategic project will last until 2023 and first began in 2019, with the core objective of professionalising the esports data ecosystem beyond global data distribution. 

This led to them building the world’s largest and most diverse network in the esports data industry. In 2021, more than 150 partners used data products from ESL leagues and tournaments provided to via by Bayes Esports for use cases such as analytics, media, distribution and integrity. 

In 2022, ESL Gaming and Bayes Esports will focus on the extension of content by adding additional game titles, as well as the optimization of coverage by achieving nearly 24/7 content availability. Furthermore, they will explore possibilities for generating data-driven content and marketing solutions for existing and new partners of ESL Gaming.

Bernhard Mogk, SVP Global Business Development, ESL Gaming.

“We are very happy to extend our partnership with Bayes, the most experienced, but also the most committed data company to set uniform industry standards. Especially in regards to the diverse and ever-increasing interest in official match data, we will continue to be on the forefront to preserve and promote integrity across all our competitions,” says Bernhard Mogk, SVP Global Business Development, ESL Gaming.

Despite the great interest in existing esports leagues and tournaments, what remained missing was the necessary infrastructure and professionalism that could help also lesser-known esports titles get established as more mainstream. By expanding their partnership, ESL Gaming and Bayes Esports are looking towards the potential of filling in those gaps. 

“Esports is a lot more complex than traditional sports. With it being digitally native and any sort of standard often not existing across leagues and game titles, traditional market participants often struggle with handling and fully understanding esports. Offering official game data means bringing structure to any content offering in esports and allows for standards to be established. We are excited to continue to work on new services and products that will lead to better fan experiences and the continuous growth of esports as a whole”, says Bayes Esports COO & Managing Director, Amir Mirzaee.

In the midst of this exciting new partnership extension, we managed to catch up with Amir to get a deeper understanding of the significance of deals like this and what impact working closer with esports natives will have on the future of the iGaming sector.

Bayes is well known for its key publisher relationships but how important is it to have relationships with the tournament organisers in comparison. What benefits will your new partnership extension bring to your customers and your ability to maximise commercialisation moving forward?

“Bayes Esports is making huge strides in terms of transforming a fragmented content market into a consolidated market that is characterised by long term relationships. Building long term relationships is critical in esports particularly, because technology and operations are a lot more complex than it is the case with traditional sport. Our relationship to Riot and ESL in particular shows that this translated into higher quality, more granular live game data, higher content coverage and a richer service offering for the ecosystem and its many use cases. Bayes Esports has set the bar extremely high in this regard, covering 100+ different data points per game title as well as location data for all game titles. This offering is unique to our proprietary technology and the result of multi-year long development.” 

What else do you think can be done to make esports more attractive as a product? How can strategic partnerships help with this?

“The message that Bayes Esports and ESL Gaming are sending consistently to the market is that esports and it’s data offerings are ready for existing user experiences of any kind. What the market needs is attention and investment into understanding the younger target group and tailoring offerings to their liking. Any media company and betting operator in particular will be faced with this challenge going forward as their existing target group ages and fades away. The earlier market participants react the better for them in terms of occupying strategic positions these days. Our partners Bet365 and Pinnacle in particular do an amazing job here. It’s the classic Amazon, Tesla, Expedia story happening right in front of our eyes, right now. The outcome of that story is crystal clear as history keeps repeating itself.”

Bayes Esports COO & Managing Director Amir Mirzaee.

Bayes have already created great working relationships with game publishers and tournament organisers. Are there any other key stakeholders in the esports ecosystem that you think our industry needs to better integrate with to facilitate the growth of esports wagering? Computer or Console manufacturers for example?

“Regulators. Very simple and very clear. It is mind boggling that esports still faces prejudice in terms of being permitted and recognized as a sport in many jurisdictions globally. On that side, we’re still in the stone ages with our grandparents telling us that video games aren’t time well spent. No person that has visited the League of Legends world finals or an Intel Extreme Masters final would ever dare to question esports as a “proper sport”. Regulators need to take this topic seriously and create a space for legitimate businesses to operate. Otherwise, it is the regulators that support black markets and fraud to prevail, no one else.

“Or to look at it from a different perspective, Germany and Berlin in particular are some of the unsung esports champions of the world. With ESL, BITKRAFT, Bayes, the Riot LEC HQ and others, we’ve got world esports leading companies made in Germany, one of them a unicorn. At the same time esports is not acknowledged as a sport by German authorities, completely ignoring a global phenomenon that connects over 600M fans worldwide.”

What do you think will be the biggest challenge for the growth of esports wagering in the near future and how can we work together as an industry to overcome it?

“In this equation of market collaboration, it is usually the participation of traditional market players that is lagging. The earlier both game publishers and large-scale operators throw their weight behind supporting esports, the faster we’ll build existing user experiences and drive for legitimate wagering globally. We need to remember that this is not a trend, but a shift in the market.”

Editors’ Note:

After speaking with Amir, it seems clear that without robust and sufficient data offerings, the esports wagering market will never be able to reach its full potential. This is why partnerships such as Bayes and ESL are so important to the future, as they can now ensure that a fragmented content market is transformed into a consolidated marketplace, characterised by long term relationships.

It’s also really exciting to hear about the raft of smaller, more niche titles that will be available for players/bettors. This increased choice, coupled with higher standards of data will boost the player experience exponentially and we’re looking forward to seeing this growth in the future. 

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