When it comes to the sportsbook category of the iGaming industry, eSports was able to establish itself as a viable alternative for sports enthusiasts. However, many have wondered if it will last, but Mark Balch from Sportradar says that eSports will continue. In American culture, sports play a tremendous role, and many people want to see the latest news when it comes to sports. A lot of them have also noticed increasing popularity in electronic sports, where many top gamers compete against other top teams in video games such as Dota 2, League of Legends and others.
If you ask any gamer around, they all are going to say that these championships in these MOBA games happen for a while. Many games view these events online. Besides, for example, when there is a new sort of Arena Year in Dota 2, called The International, the publishers from Valve create some kind of pledging on top players. For every vote, gamers receive in-game characters or items. Of course, the iGaming industry has also seen these championships which in the end even had a name, eSports Championships. The industry saw this as an opportunity to enlarge its product portfolio and horizons.
The Growth of Esports
Right now, there are more esports competitions taking place online. Everything is shifting online, and there are more unplanned tournaments and such. Since 2016, there has been a significant increase in eSports views, from both occasional viewers and enthusiasts. Between 2016 and 2017, over the year there was a 19,3% increase. In 2017 it had a total audience of 335 million views. In 2018, the view-rate dropped, however, to 13,8%.
Besides, by 2021, Newzoo predicts that the annual view-rate will be approximately 14%. They also said that the number of casual viewers will grow to 307 million, and the enthusiasts will be 250 million. So during this time, it results that there has been a steady growth in eSports viewership, and the trend will continue in the incoming years. Even though eSports seems to have a limited audience, these statistics result in casual people viewing eSports events. This is the result of increasing awareness about eSports and its easy access to the Internet—no wonder the iGaming industry got so interested.
Also, the viewing platforms like Twitch and Youtube has seen through their user an increase of views towards eSports events which are streamed every time on Twitch and Youtube. Because eSports can engage casual and enthusiastic people, the iGaming industry is pushing to offer eSports data coverage as much as possible. Meanwhile, the industry also wants to make sure that the offering is entirely better, researched and safe. The industry’s experts believe that in the long-term prospects of eSports, there is a possibility of accelerating the rate of growth that it previously existed.
For example, ever since Mark Balch joined Sportradar in 2015 and before the formation of Bayes Esports Solutions, he also had seen the growing interests in eSports. Besides, another positive sign for the casino industry is the fact that the Washington state has signed a bill which allows betting on mobile sports and eSports at any of 29 tribal casinos within the state. Another positive news is that the Nevada Gaming Board has given permission for sportsbooks to take in a major CS:GO tournament. This acceptance results in states being aware of the potential eSports presents and the industry hope that it will be the start of a chain reaction that other states can pick up on.
For sportsbooks, going more online with more subjects that are related to sports, means covering a larger area for players. If we look into the history of the iGaming industry, we see a similar move for the casino counterpart. Just like the sportsbook category, everything started land-based, and when there was an evolution of technology, to offer more options for the enthusiasts, the industry used this opportunity to expand. That’s how the online casino came live, after the implementation of the Free Trade & Processing act.
People Watch More eSports
Over the years there has been a drastic difference in the amount of time spent watching eSports videos. More people are watching these events and platforms such as Twitch and Youtube can show even why. Because these platforms, especially Twitch are made for eSports consumption. The eSports streamers use these platforms to broadcast their live events and their gameplay. Streaming these events gives a chance for fans to participate and engage with their favourite eSports athletes.
Many brands have seen the potential of tapping into the eSports market, and some of them have made investments. That is also another result in the eSports industry to increase not only in popularity but also on the business market. Because the brands have made their moves into eSports there was a visible growth in eSports tournaments too. Currently, there are around 17.921 players in these tournaments, and the total number of matches organised was about 3489 events. These tournaments also lead to more views, not just an increase in the market.