Team Snowball’s CEO, Yun Hyeon Yoon, and Ahilleas Papantos, Director of Partnerships, Bayes Esports, talk partnerships, South Korean esports and the roll out of fan engagement solutions to a global audience.
Firstly, Ahilleas, can you tell us a bit about how this partnership with Team Snowball came about?
Ahilleas Papantos: Prior to joining Bayes Esports as the Director of Partnerships, I enjoyed a long and fruitful professional relationship with Team Snowball’s parent company, AZYT Global Talent. I previously served as the Chief Gaming Officer of AZYT Management, their esports agency, which represented some of the top esports talent globally. As Bayes Esports looked to expand to South Korea, it was the obvious choice to partner with the region’s market leaders in esports data solutions and with the incredible team at Snowball, with whom I was already familiar.
How will this partnership with Team Snowball enable Bayes Esports to expand its presence within the South Korean esports market?
AP: Team Snowball, as the market leader in South Korea, with their partnerships with KeSPA, Team Korea, and the LCK, provides Bayes Esports with invaluable on-ground presence, intrinsic market expertise, an incredible reputation, and a vast network. Market nuances differ from region to region, and having a strategic partner was crucial for Bayes Esports as we entered this incredibly important market.
Since this is your first foray into the South Korean esports market, how will your approach differ to that in Europe?
AP: The partnership with Team Snowball is a first-of-its-kind for Bayes Esports, involving a close collaboration with an on-the-ground partner to advise on strategic market decisions and exclusively represent us within the territory.
Yun Hyeon, for those that might not know, can you introduce Team Snowball to our readers?
Yun Hyeon Yoon: Team Snowball is a South Korean company that strives to develop creative solutions using esports data for the esports industry including leagues, teams, and most importantly fans. We work closely with the Korean eSports Association and the LCK (League of Legends Champions Korea) and recently supported the League of Legends and PUBG Mobile Korean National Team in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou that went on to win gold and silver medals.
Why did you choose to partner with Bayes Esports?
YY: Partnering with Bayes Esports, a global leader in the official live esports data industry, was a natural extension of Team Snowball’s commitment to developing solutions based on official live data. As a trusted partner of the esports industry’s rights holders, tournament organizers, service providers, sportsbooks and media companies, Bayes Esports provides the necessary framework that allows companies like Team Snowball to focus on what it does best, develop creative solutions.
How will this partnership with Bayes Esports enable Team Snowball to accelerate the roll out of your fan engagement solutions to a global audience?
YY: As a global leader in the official live esports data industry, Bayes Esports’ experience and coverage will help Team Snowball expand its reach from being a trusted data partner within the Korean esports industry to building solutions for a broader global audience.
What would you say are some of the biggest challenges facing the esports industry in 2023 / 2024? And how can organisations such as yourselves help navigate these challenges?
AP: While the esports industry has shown explosive growth on back of its sheer popularity, the same challenge of matching this amazing interest with a sustainable offering still exists to this day. We believe that many industry participants recognize this issue, and we hope that Bayes Esports and Team Snowball’s continuous effort to extract, create and provide new and additional value for industry stakeholders will ultimately contribute to the process.
YY: We could not agree more. Many esports organisations struggle with finding sustainable revenue streams beyond sponsorship and advertising. Besides the explosive growth, maintaining the esports audience is essential as well. With various entertainment options available, esports must continue to engage fans effectively. Since Bayes Esports provides official live data to the esports industry, we also see challenges in terms of ensuring the security and integrity of esports data. With the increasing value of esports betting and the potential for match-fixing, organisations like ours must implement robust data security measures and collaborate with industry stakeholders like Team Snowball to maintain the credibility of esports.
How important is it that we as an industry bridge the gap between regional esports industries to create more collaboration across the esports space?
YY: Esports is digital and coverage is global. As esports data industry participants, we believe it is our responsibility to overcome any cross-border challenges that may exist and support the global industry the best we can.
AP: Bridging the gap between regional esports industries is important to us, aligning with the fact that esports is globally accessible due to its digital nature. We agree that it is our responsibility to foster collaboration, ultimately supporting the growth and unity of the global esports industry. This ensures that the esports industry thrives in an inclusive and interconnected manner, benefiting all who are part of the industry and community.