2020 was a pivotal year for the world. The health crisis brought on by the pandemic translated to financial problems for companies and countries. Whole industries like entertainment, sports, food and beverage, tourism, and hotels were badly hit. With less arena attendance and interest in sports, traditional sports gambling took a downturn in betting, with betting falling 70% year-on-year in April 2020. However, esports betting doubled during the same period.
Even with the return of in-person events, the growth of esports betting has continued. Three titles make up the majority of betting: League of Legends (LoL), DOTA 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO). Together these titles make up more than 80% of the total betting. Due to the fast-paced action and scoring, CS: GO was popular even before the pandemic, and it has continued as a fan-favorite.
Esports betting has grown as rapidly as viewership and attendance. With a wider coverage, the enthusiasts have better opportunities for watching games and have become more invested in their enjoyment of viewing games. More interaction and entertainment value have fueled the betting on these esports events. To further attract more users, operators have offered more promos for bettors, including no wagering bonus list from Lucky7bonus.
The increased viewership in these events has also led to more sponsorship for larger tournaments. With more sponsorships, there have also been more events and even bigger prizes. The International 10 Dota 2 event had a total prize pool of more than $60 million, with the $16 million going to the first-place team. This feeds a cycle where more spectators demand more competition, leading to more sponsors and bigger prizes. With bigger prizes and competitions, more fans are enticed to bet on the outcome. Viewers feel an attachment to the teams and competitions, and they show this attachment by betting on the events.
Feeding the Growth of Esports Betting
Participants, viewers, and sponsors are not the only ones who benefit from the popularity of esports. Betting operators have grown with the demand. To keep the momentum going, betting operators should promote these events by building more content catered to these events.
The following are reasons for the betting operators to create event-centred content:
- Education and extension. Betting operators have to ensure that the number of viewers increases. Operators can promote these events online or on social media, as well as in traditional media. Print media has provided increasing space in magazines and newspapers for esports and see it as an emerging, legitimate sporting event. Traditional and older bettors usually hear about esports from print media and TV. There is still a large number of traditional bettors who may become interested in esports gambling.
- Hype and excitement. Creating hype and excitement is the second and immediate step after getting the attention of viewers. Hype and living up to it make for exciting viewing. It draws the viewers in, as well as the bets.
- Getting the bets in. It is important for betting operators to get their esports spectators to take the last step of betting on the outcome. They have been presented with the alternatives and the game considerations. The transparency of the game adds to the excitement that nobody knows the results beforehand. This creates drama for bettors and encourages them to bet on the events.
Creating content presents transparency and trust. Presented with all the available information, viewers can make an educated bet. They also understand that there are other unknown variables to the game.
There are plenty of avenues for content involving esports and competitive events. Gamers are on Twitch, YouTube and Tiktok as vloggers promoting their esports, and explaining to their followers the nuance of the game. They critique and explain the player’s moves, as well as commentating on live games. In the same manner, these types of content are what fuel esports acceptance and adoption. Betting operators can make use of their own original content, or sponsor these vloggers, tiktokers, and Youtubers. There is an endless stream of new content, and the operators only need to pick the most popular influencer for a specific niche.
Brands are made online and even established brands and products impact the game, players, and spectators.
With traditional sports, team sponsorship by a gambling site is frowned upon, this is not necessarily true of online betting. Esports fans are enamored with well-known brands and companies and teams with sponsorships have more followers. There is a synergy where the team’s success leads to sponsorship, and the sponsorship leads to more fans and followers. At the same time, esports betting operators have some clout with spectators, creating fans for the sponsored teams.
Traditional sports would frown on betting operators’ sponsorship because it would be seen as a connection between gambling and their sports, with some possibility of nefarious activities. However, since its inception, esports has been very transparent about its games and coverage. The people involved in esports have put in place methods and procedures to detect and prevent cheating. The games are heavily scrutinized for any cheating between players, and any efforts at hacking the servers. The use of bots, for instance, can get an account banned. These safety procedures also keep the players honest.
With all these safeguards, team sponsorship of betting operators is accepted and encouraged. It is also natural that operators sponsor and create competitions and events. Necessarily, they also promote esports, and betting when they run these events.