By HB Duran
Why major events matter in esports betting
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, which goes double for the lack of traditional sporting events in 2020. Traditional sports betting fell 70% YoY in April 2020, while esports wagers grew 100% during the same time. A new year brought hope for the return of in-person events, including esports, which saw an uptick in betting action.
The “Big Three” titles — League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) –make up 85% of the handle, according to Narus Advisors and Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. CS:GO was a popular choice before the pandemic, but its return to live events has garnered even more attention from bettors.
Betting operator EsportsBattles reported that during July 2021, when CS:GO tournament IEM Cologne 2021 took place, active betters increased by nearly 40% – just as with traditional sporting events, betting on the outcome gives viewers a reason to watch and feel invested in the outcome.
The International 10 – Dota 2 esports’ biggest event of the year – returns in October with a prize pool that rises with fan contributions. As of this writing, the total pool stands at a record $40m (£29.6m), and the first-place team will take home the lion’s share at a whopping $16m. Increased stakes mean increased pressure, which will keep things interesting for esports bettors.
Why betting operators should build content around these events
Each esports title is different, so content is vital to educate bettors on the basics of the game or what to wager on. League of Legends, for example, usually consists of a “best of three”, while CS:GO has 30 rounds and the first to win 16 games wins the match.
Betting operators should create content around major events for several reasons:
- Create hype
- Introduce factors that can impact the outcome
- Encourage bets on the outcome
GG.bet, for example, provides news coverage leading up to Worlds, the game’s biggest event. Coverage ranges from the latest playable “Champion” character and its abilities and where Worlds 2021 will take place. These updates help bettors consider different competition factors, such as teams which have won previously and roster changes that could alter team dynamics.
Content also builds trust, in that a bettor can review the content alongside odds to make an educated decision. The reader can walk away with a clear understanding and feel more confident in their wagers.
Why event sponsorship should be an option
Sponsorship is a great way to start if you want to build awareness and affinity with esports fans.
YouGov Profiles data shows that esports fans are more likely than soccer fans to notice the sponsors of events they watch, at 74% and 58%, respectively. More importantly, more than half of German esports fans are likely to agree that they love it when their favourite team has cool sponsors compared to 31% of soccer fans.
Betting partners can sign on for a single event or an entire series, depending on their goals. Esports events company ESL named 1xBet the official global betting partner of the entire ESL Pro Tour CS:GO and its ESL One Summer & Winter Dota 2 events. Other notable esports sponsors include Vie.bet, Fun88, Parimatch, Betsafe, GG.bet, Pinnacle and Unibet.
Sponsoring an individual team is also a great option. Betway formed a two-year partnership with Berlin-based esports organisation G2 Esports in June. The two will conduct and co-create show matches, live streams, fan activations, giveaways and a variety of other video content.