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Esoccer: Capitalising on Euro 2024™ to attract a new wave of players

| By Katrina Holmes | Reading Time: 6 minutes
With the Euro 2024™ tournament kicking off in Munich on June 14, operators are anticipating an explosion of activity from both new and existing players. But with this influx comes the million-dollar question – how do operators retain players post-tournament? For Peter Torsson, engineering manager at Abios, esoccer provides operators the perfect cross-selling opportunity to encourage sports betting fans to try out esports.

With a total of 51 games to bet on during the Euro 2024™ tournament’s one month of football, operators will embrace this busy month of betting activity. However, the challenge of retaining these players is one that operators have faced time and time again, with a big drop off seen post the previous football tournament.

Esports vs sports betting: reflecting on similar characteristics

One way in which operators can mitigate the potential churn of new players is through encouraging players to test the waters of another vertical. This is however by no means a simple task, with operators facing the issue of selecting the most suitable vertical and how to cross sell a different gaming format from what a player is used to. 

The art of cross selling verticals is already apparent in sports betting with pop-up casino games during half time breaks being a popular way of introducing bettors to online casino. Encouraging movement across a wider platform to boost player engagement, broadening individual preferences and ultimately revenue potential. 

However, while online casino games may be entertaining during breaks, there is one vertical that much closer reflects the characteristics of sports betting, and that may prove to be a better solution for long term retention success – esports.

Putting esports in front of the right audience at the right time

Building on the excitement of a global event like Euro 2024™ can be the perfect opportunity to encourage cross-selling, particularly for football fans who will likely recognise the similarities between their preference of sports betting and certain esports titles.

Those strategising for a cross-selling opportunity need to heed caution, however, as there isn’t always an obvious way to marry up what players have been betting on with the rest of an operator’s portfolio. The likes of traditional esports games may look entirely alien to a football fan who is only familiar with sports betting.

Torsson explains, “The barrier to entry for casual sports bettors to enjoy esports titles such as League of Legends™ (LoL) might be high. The game doesn’t resemble traditional sports in viewership culture or game mechanics in the slightest, meaning it can be hard to understand for the uninitiated.

“While esports titles like this can be a hard crossover for sports fans, they can be a way for operators to reach a new audience that can later be converted into other betting verticals with the right retention and re-activation strategies.”

For Torsson, using the most popular sports to create an air of familiarity is key to encouraging even the most reluctant sports bettors to test the esports waters.

“Some of the most popular sports in the world, such as football, basketball, or tennis, are relatively easy to comprehend, allowing them to capture wide audiences.

“Esports titles modelled on real-life sports, such as esoccer, are consequently easy to grasp and engage in. Esoccer and ebasketball, as well as their competitive tournaments, cater to a wide audience that isn’t necessarily into traditional esports or gaming.”

Utilising sporting events in the year: Spotlight on Euro 2024™

Playing on the popularity of the Euro 2024™ tournament, operators are gifted with an opportunity to introduce their esports offerings through the likes of esoccer which is close to identical to sports betting.  Through careful customisation, operators can present sports bettors with an opportunity to feel part of the Euro 2024™ action, replicating the skills of their favourite players and sustaining the atmosphere of the live game during a half time break or pre match in the build up to their team’s next fixture.

“From a betting perspective, we see a lot of crossover from football to esoccer, more than is necessarily seen to other esports disciplines such as Counter-Strike™, League of Legends™ or VALORANT™. This means that the main audience of esoccer consists of sports fans rather than solely esports enthusiasts.”

Creating positive esports experiences

Picking the opportune moment to cross-sell is pivotal in its success. Operators looking to boost return figures should be strategising far beyond the final whistle.  One of the prime ways to do this is by providing content that builds on a positive first experience and ultimately encourages more time on site.

Torsson explains, “Returning users return because they found their first experience pleasant. As such, it is incredibly important to keep the quality of content and offerings consistent in the weeks and months tailing Copa América™ and Euro 2024™.”

Bridging the gap between sports betting and esports

“Large-scale sporting events attract new and returning users to sportsbooks, meaning there is a big opportunity to cross-sell across verticals. The sheer volume of users pouring in allows other verticals to bridge a gap in content, especially during downtimes such as half-times and in-between matches.”

Providing positive first experiences through familiar esoccer matches that are promoted during global football events can be a great way to introduce esports, particularly with the condensed gaming format and simple rules.

“To capture the attention of a patriotic football fan who turns to a sportsbook, a smart move can be to utilise content that is easy to consume and has a low barrier to entry.

“In these cases, always-on content such as esoccer can be a tremendous way of retaining these players. It provides snackable, 8-minute matches perfect for half-time platform visitors who mostly consume football, as it is easy to understand and engaging to watch when the big leagues become stale.”

Introducing esports through Euro 2024™

“Providing these games during large-scale events where football holds centre stage can translate well into subsequent times when there might be less high-calibre content in play.”

Creating this engaging experience through collaboration with a relatable event is the ideal scenario for operators looking to fill the gaps between matches and during half time breaks. Not only does it provide players a sense of familiarity and a relatable topic, but operators are also provided a golden opportunity to offer players a gradually wider range of esports content.

While operators may struggle with this gradual introduction to esports, partnering with a provider like Abios can ensure the content is accurately distributed to the right players at the right time.

A customisable catalogue of esports content supports operators in encouraging higher retention rates through features such as real time streaming and live data widgets.

The atmosphere of a global tournament is unmatchable and with operators able to replicate this through the promotion of esoccer tournaments, football fans will embrace the opportunity to be part of the action.

And with the regional football calendar providing unique pockets of time where operators could encourage cross vertical engagement, it remains beneficial to work with an esports expert that allows operators to capitalise on all opportunities within the sporting spectrum. 

“Always-on content can be added to create a red thread throughout the events and re-engage players in the subsequent period. It features engaging and fast-paced 8-minute matches, giving fans entertaining content during half-time breaks, in between matches, and on days with less football activity.

With 12,000+ games in the Abios esoccer catalogue, players will be able to project their enthusiasm for the Euro 2024™ tournament onto the esoccer playing field.  Providing context to sports betting fans and an ability to reenact the skills within their favourite Euro 2024™moments.

Abios always-on solution provides operators the option of customising their offering, through both design and visualisations as well as with a personalised player feed.

“The yearly football calendar is highly seasonal in each country and region, which means that there can be downtime for sportsbooks during the off-season and in-between matches. In these circumstances, always-on content can also play a part in re-engaging audiences and ensuring fresh content is available whenever users return to a platform.

Developing esports through esoccer

Connecting the emotions between sports betting and esports through the creation of esoccer allows operators an easy way of cross-selling a new vertical to betting fans.

Using data to understand a player’s journey, as well as working closely with operator partners, Abios has built an esports solution that should allow operators to boost engagement and ultimately revenue channels during, and after, key football events.

“In creating data points and visualisations, we followed an iterative process where we outlined customer requirements and made increments based on continuous feedback. This ensured the data met all needs, enabling us to increase our customer satisfaction and find a great product market fit.

“For our esoccer solutions, we’ve followed a very similar process. Speaking to several operators, we identified that the seasonal sports calendar featured gaps in content, which posed irregular turnover patterns and introduced higher risk.

“To ensure steadier revenue streams, strengthen the content calendar, and produce retention opportunities, we expanded our offering to include esoccer.”

With the ability to engage sports betting fans through popular key events, Abios provides statistics pre-match and live in play for regular and detailed match updates. Paired with the ability to live stream tournaments directly to their platform, operators can ensure players remain on site for longer.

 And the breadth of esoccer opportunity is only set to skyrocket for operators as the number of sporting events increase over time and players become further engaged in the esports vertical.

“Consisting of 12,000+ monthly events, Abios esoccer solution is an engaging way for operators to bridge the gaps between esports and sports fans, engaging both disciplines.”

Nothing is intended to imply any affiliation, sponsorship, or endorsement between Abios and any of the trademarks referenced herein. All trademarks mentioned in this article are the property of their respective owners. Abios is not officially associated with or endorsed by any of these trademark owners. The use of these trademarks is purely for descriptive and informational purposes and does not imply any formal association or partnership.

Peter Torsson, engineering manager at Abios

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