The Rise of Esports

The last couple of years have seen historic disruptions to sports leagues across the globe due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to stalls in contract negotiations in popular leagues such as Major League Baseball. While traditional sports were stuck in limbo and still are to a degree, Esports have continued to thrive.

What does Esports mean?

Esports are competitive video game tournaments where players and teams compete for cash prizes. The tournaments are viewable from anywhere in the world on mobile or desktop devices, and are usually free to stream.

Who is the typical Esports fan right now?

Approximately 71% of Esports fans are male, and 73% are between the ages of 16-34. Furthermore, Esports fans are disproportionately affluent, more employed and are more likely to spend on entertainment. Roughly 15% of all internet users are Esports fans, and Esports audiences are most prevalent in South and East Asian countries.

Why are Esports important to iGaming?

Operators should pay close attention to Esports because Esports are projected to have a global audience of over 577 million people by the year 2024. Unlike traditional sports where viewership can be limited due to geographical restrictions, pay-per-view access, or lack of mobile-friendly viewing options, Esports have no such restrictions – in fact operators can even offer livestreams for many Esports tournaments directly on their platform to boost customer engagement. Despite Esports betting still being in its infancy, Esports betting is expected to generate $18.5bn USD in GGR by 2026.

Are Esports really that big?

Yes. Even pre-pandemic when Esports were in more direct competition for viewership against traditional sports, over 100 million fans tuned into the 2019 League of Legends World Championship through streaming services such as Twitch and YouTube. The 2020 League of Legends World Championship Final, hosted in Shanghai in Fall 2020, had over 3 million fans apply for seats even though the venue could only seat 6,000. Operators who do not offer Esports wagering not only risk leaving money on the table from bets placed on Esports events, but more importantly risk losing the ability to attract Millennial and Gen Z bettors due to the popularity of Esports in those generations.

What if my sportsbook provider does not support Esports betting?

If your iGaming technology provider does not support Esports betting, you should strongly consider migrating to a different provider. Millennial and Gen Z bettors are rapidly gaining share of the customer base for iGaming, and in the coming years will be the primary customer base. Esports is a crucial draw for those groups. Operators who wait to court those customers will face an uphill battle against brands that have already established a relationship with that demographic.

Our white label sportsbook solutions are fully equipped with odds feeds for major Esports events. Contact [email protected] to add a white label sportsbook solution with Esports capabilities to your platform today.

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