Trading Esports Efficiently to Cut Through the Noise

Oliver Niner, Head of Sales for PandaScore tells us what it takes for esports traders to cut through the noise.

Gone are the days in esports where you had very few tournaments, teams and players.

Nowadays, fans have daily CS:GO matches across four or five tiers of competition almost entirely year-round. The Dota Pro Circuit means there’s a steady stream of competitive Dota 2 throughout the year. Other titles such as League of Legends and Valorant have shorter, but much more compact schedules with many competitions running at the same time. And that’s not counting long-tail titles like Rocket League, Rainbow Six and more.

In a landscape that’s becoming increasingly packed, where fans and bettors alike have multiple games and competitions all vying for their attention, being more selective and efficient is proving to be increasingly important for operators.

Choosing wisely

In this glut of esports content, spreading your resources to cover as many titles as possible isn’t necessarily a surefire way to success. With enough performance data in hand, especially post-COVID, focusing on the titles and events that are the most interesting for bettors and most profitable for operators is key.

This includes not just your S-tier and A-tier tournaments, but also B-tier tournaments which are proving increasingly popular for players and generating greater revenue for operators. As the esports calendar ebbs and flows, those B-tier type competitions become increasingly influential in supplementing revenues between the peaks of betting activity.

In Counter-Strike, we’ve found that B-tier tournaments such as CCT Central Europe Finals and BetBoom Playlist Urbanistic outperform other tournaments at that tier by a significant margin – in some cases competing with some A-tier tournaments when it comes to the turnover generated.

For suppliers, reviewing performance data for tournaments at this level and allocating resources accordingly is incredibly important. This of course helps suppliers to maximise the value of a given tournament for their clients, as well as assist operators in planning their marketing campaigns around esports.

The biggest tournaments of the year will attract a lot of attention from operator marketing departments, but should they want to target these B-tier events and try to own that space, there are opportunities for deeper supplier-operator collaboration to build effective campaigns.

The long-tail titles and events are a ‘nice to have’, but if a supplier is selective about which events are most important for players, taking into account performance, customer base and [coverage/calendar], as an operator you have a more catered, focused and efficient offering.

What does efficient esports trading actually look like?

In the context of trading esports, what efficiency means depends on who you ask. The short answer is it takes quite a lot of forms.

First and most importantly, it’s the upkeep of a robust calendar and clever prioritising of tournaments in terms of coverage. It’s also the ability to adapt to changes in the calendar from month to month, as well as other challenges such as teams disbanding, roster changes and reports of match-fixing or other suspicious activities. As an individual trader and a team, you need to allocate the resources you have available wisely.

Supplementing your models with knowledge of the scene is a massive asset to trading efficiently. Setting up a system to find reports and relevant articles without even looking is the ultimate efficiency. When it comes to trading itself, with experience you’ll spot markets where the odds might need some adjustments due to a new patch or meta – especially on objective markets.

Supplier-operator collaboration is another key efficiency point, as every relationship is different, and every operator works in specific markets with specific customer bases. Supplier-based traders need to be knowledgeable about who their clients serve so they can maintain their roots and standards while adapting to the specific needs of each market. On the other side, operators can help by providing performance insights and reporting on suspicious behaviours on certain matches, teams or even markets – which suppliers can investigate and act upon.

Esports itself is a discipline with more volatility and fluctuation in markets compared to traditional sports. Having clever models backed by rich data is only part of what you need to stay ahead of the game. Trading more efficiently by being selective in your coverage and leveraging the strength of traders is essential. Through a carefully considered approach, operators can give bettors more of what they love while generating greater turnover and better margin performance.

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