The afternoon sessions at the Esports Betting Summit focused more on understanding esports customers and how to build a brand which appeals to them.
The Betgenius Esports Panel took place just before lunch and the topic of the World Esports Association (WESA) was briefly discussed. Ben Conroy, Esports Product Manager at Sky Betting & Gaming, made the valid point of whether it might be better to have specific game bodies as opposed to this umbrella organisation.
The WESA has already been the subject of substantial criticism, or rather widespread concern, especially following the news that founding member FaZe Clan is reportedly set to leave barely a week after its formation.
Conroy also explained how, unlike some competitors that have created a separate esports portal, Sky Betting & Gaming opted to include esports betting as an additional offering in its traditional sportsbook. Of this choice he said: “We don’t separate esports customers from traditional sports bettors.”
On the subject of in-play betting on esports Conroy highlighted that for Sky Bet it’s already taken over the more minor European sports. He said that that main three are CS:GO, Dota 2 and League of Legends with the latter the key market “because of how Riot package it”. Riot, the developer behind League of Legends, utilise live action replays for spectators for instance which makes it more akin to watching traditional sports.
In the first session after lunch Harry Lang, Marketing Director at Pinnacle Sports, taught a full house how not to be a dad at a disco. He broke down his ideas of how to appeal to esports fans in a six step program. The first step was to unlearn everything; to understand that esports is an entirely different playing field and to get to know the competitive environment.
In the second he urged listeners to go and play, to try out the games, get actively involved on the forums and watch streams on Twitch. He also referenced shoutcasters as potential ambassadors designating them the “oracles of esports”. Step three was to build a brand; to test drive ideas and to remember to make it fun whilst not overspending on your brand architecture. Lang suggested that building a simple brand architecture with mission, brand name, logo and personality all well considered is integral but he was also keen to press that there was no need to spend huge sums on this practice. Lang suggested a brand personality exercise to help determine the identity you’re going for.
Step four was on the necessity of product differentiation whilst step five the necessity of security, integrity and trust with the simple question of would you trust you with your credit card details? The final point was to make some noise; to create video content, utilise forums and live streaming sites all the while ensuring your credibility is maintained.
The penultimate talk featured three esports industry veterans in the form of Jens Hilgers, CEO at Dojo Madness, Victor Martyn, Owner and CEO of GosuGamers and James Dean Founder and Co-MD at ESL UK. These three hashed out how to go about understanding your esports customer.
Victor Martyn kicked it off by stating that consumer culture is changing, gaming is becoming ever more socially acceptable and that this will continue as more and more new parents are gamers themselves. Hilgers carried this point on and went one further saying: “In the future, kids will be exposed to Faker before Ronaldo”. Faker is one of the world’s top League of Legends players, and Hilgers justified this bold claim by pointing to the fact that esports are easier to participate in than traditional sports, and that PCs, laptops, tablets and gaming consoles are becoming ever more commonplace in the typical family household.
ESL UK’s James Dean also pointed to the reception of Sky’s Katowice documentary and how whilst it didn’t gain too many viewers on Sky 2, its viewership on Youtube was excellent.
When quizzed on their views about the pros and cons of building a dedicated esports betting platform, or going for the simpler route of adding it to the sportsbook Hilgers said: “For me, the most important thing is simplicity of use, I want one app for one activity.”
The final panel of the day was focused on the latest in terms of legality and regulation. It was moderated by David Sargeant of iGaming Ideas and featured John Hagan of Harris Hagan LLP, Nicolai Lodberg of the Danish Gambling Authority and Bruce Elliot a Director at Boston Multi Family Office.
The inaugural Bullet Business Esports Betting Summit was certainly a success, and with the Royal Garden Hotel packed to the rafters you can be rest assured it’ll be moving onwards and upwards in 2017.