SBC News Oliver Niner, PandaScore: Esports 'symbolic relationship' with microbetting

Oliver Niner, PandaScore: Esports ‘symbolic relationship’ with microbetting

The growth of esports betting is undeniable, with more and more operators acquiring interest in the market. PandaScore’s Head of Sales, Oliver Niner, shares his predictions for what will shakeup the scene in 2023. 

Big in 2023: Esports microbetting

Oliver Niner, PandaScore
Oliver Niner – PandaScore

Getting into the swing of 2023, the betting industry watches with bated breath to see what esports product innovations will facilitate growth in turnover and customer engagement.

Last year saw headway made on the rollout of microbetting products, with 2023 looking like the year we see these fast-action markets gain traction.

Microbetting in traditional sports has a host of challenges to overcome in order to be successful, but esports is where suppliers and operators can drive product innovation. It’s the perfect playground for microbetting to flourish, and it’s down to three key factors.

The form of esports matches

Esports’ very nature – from matches to how fans engage – breeds digital interactivity. On the whole, esports fans regardless of game title are much more engrossed in the statistics side of fandom, drilling deep down into the detail of a given game as it plays out. What does the gold or economy difference mean for the two sides, if this player has this many kills or this item, what does it mean for the next play or round?

These kinds of questions are all driven by a data-focused method of viewing the game which is endemic to esports and bears striking similarities to much of the stats head culture you see in modern sports. The likes of plus-minus (+/-) in basketball, expected goals (xG) in football and many other advanced metrics have been around for more than a decade.

The passion and interest in data and stats that has driven fan understanding of advanced metrics is something that has developed alongside esports as it has grown. Not every fan is a “stats head” but there’s an understanding and importance placed on these stats. Fans are constantly analysing these stats and making their own judgements on what will happen next – the kind of interaction where microbetting can flourish.

A more symbiotic relationship with microbetting

By offering prop markets based on something that might happen, there’s a natural symbiosis between microbetting opportunities and esports. In esports, the prop can be tailored to whatever is attractive to that specific audience, which is where the power of microbetting can really be seen.

In traditional sports, we largely see microbetting in sports where the structure of play is boxed off, like the next down in an American football game. It’s easier for operators to tie a spot bet to an outcome that can happen in the next burst of play.

Rounds-based esports titles like CS:GO and Valorant naturally fit this mould, but we’re focusing on League of Legends too. LoL still has the fluidity of a football match, but the flow of the game means you can still have multiple props throughout a match. Esports can evolve microbetting products in ways not yet possible in traditional sports, a big reason for this being the digital nature of the game itself.

Microbetting favours esports’ digital nature

As a product that exists entirely within a digital sphere, there is a breadth and depth of data that is much easier to extract compared to traditional sports.

Where sports still often rely on forms of manual collection, in esports the data is rich and more accessible, allowing you to extract multiple points of data to make an assumption about what happens next, and then produce a microbetting prop.

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