We’re a few days into the 2022 World Cup tournament and all eyes are on the action in Qatar. And with four matches per day, you can imagine that there are plenty of games for punters to place a bet on. But what happens when there is a gap in between matches? How can sportsbooks keep those players engaged?
Karl Rönn, Key Account Manager at Abios, discusses how esoccer can help deliver quick-fire football action at a time when matches might not be taking place, explaining why this vertical can not only engage players during the World Cup but also build brand loyalty in the months after the trophy is lifted.
SBC: Esports has as a vertical grown tremendously among sportsbooks over the last few years. Particularly esoccer. Why do you think this is?
KR: The esports audience has grown significantly over many years, which has led to an increased interest in esports betting products. H2 Gambling Capital estimate the GGR for esports to reach $ 960 million by 2026, which makes it all the more interesting for sportsbooks.
Esports titles generally differentiate a lot compared to sports, which can make it more difficult for ingrained sports fans to follow. As such, we don’t necessarily see a lot of crossover between traditional sports and esports.
Esoccer on the other hand, or FIFA as it is more commonly known, is an esport based on traditional football. All rules and game mechanics are essentially the same, making it easier to follow for sports fans. As such, sportsbooks have included esoccer into their offering whenever there are no ongoing soccer matches, allowing sports fans to discover esoccer and find something new to bet on.
SBC: With the World Cup underway, what role can esoccer play in engaging bettors in between games?
KR: To accommodate the hot weather conditions in Qatar during the summer months, the 2022 World Cup had to be scheduled in November. This, of course, put domestic leagues in a peculiar situation. Many domestic leagues usually have their off-season during summer and go on towards the end of the year, essentially putting them at the same time as the World Cup. Several tournaments such as the Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga have either imposed breaks or condensed their calendar during the World Cup to mitigate this issue.
This puts sportsbooks in a situation where there is a fully stacked soccer calendar before and after the World Cup. During the tournament itself, there are few other ongoing matches. Consequently, there will be a lot of downtime between matches.
The World Cup usually generates an uptick in new customers, so to fully capitalise on the influx of visitors sportsbooks can opt to include esoccer in their offering. It fills the gaps in content between the games and creates engaging opportunities for betting between matches.
SBC: And in a post-World Cup world, how can esoccer then be used to engage bettors that had an interest in the tournament?
KR: With many leagues resuming after the end of the World Cup, sportsbooks will have unprecedented opportunities for reactivation for the new customers they’ve serviced during the tournament.
To ensure a continuous flow of content, sportsbooks can opt to include esoccer in between top-tier matches in domestic leagues as well as during the World Cup itself.
SBC: In your opinion, what place does esoccer have in the sportsbook offerings of today?
KR: Esoccer can by no means take over the role of football or tennis, but it can definitely act as a great filler product, both in between matches and during the off-season in the football calendar.
SBC: Can this be a vertical that can be effectively used to cross-sell more traditional betting products?
KR: Definitely. It can also act as a bridge between traditional sports and esports, given esoccer is in a sports-friendly setting but in a digital environment. It bridges the gap between the two words and allows sports fans to venture into the world of esports.
SBC: We’re coming to the end of 2022 – looking ahead to next year, what can we expect from Abios?
KR: Earlier this year, Abios signed a partnership with BETER providing us with real-time data for esoccer. With access to data directly from tournament servers, we can build automated odds that can be accompanied by widgets and streams for a full esoccer solution.
Our belief is that esoccer will be a truly groundbreaking filler product and are looking forward to seeing its trajectory going forward.