Technology, data visualisation and partnerships are three key areas that Bayes Esports plans to focus on in 2021, as Amir Mirzaee (pictured) – Chief Operating Officer – plans to establish the company’s position as a leader in the esports space.
In conversation with SBC News, Mirzaee – who joined Bayes Esports in July 2020 – reflected on some of the new opportunities that arose during 2020 and how this year already looks to be one for sustained growth.
SBC: 2020 was a year filled with challenges for many people. But looking towards the positives, what were the highlights of the year for you?
AM: COVID-19 brought, and continues to bring, incredibly hard times to many, and we are always mindful of that fact when talking about our success. As far as Bayes Esports is concerned, however, 2020 was a booming year. Just one and a half years after we started, we have over 150 customers and 3X sales growth.
On the data supply side too, we’ve had a strong year with over 7,000 matches covered live across our 3 titles LoL, Dota2 and CS:Go. Our offering was obviously strongly driven by our key exclusive partnerships with Riot and the ESL, but not only. We’ve made good headway in adding high profile tournament organizers and league operators to the mix as well and this momentum is carrying over into 2021.
In addition to the ongoing and extended partnerships with Riot and the ESL, we’ve added partners like OGA and Beyond the Summit for this year and have signed four out of six Dota Pro Circuit events, with our eyes on the Majors and The International as well. We’re looking to double our live data content across those three titles to 12,000-14,000 for 2021.
SBC: From an innovation perspective, what have been your biggest accomplishments in the last 12 months?
AM: Where to start? I’d say there are three big buckets. First of all, we’re trying to introduce standards to the industry where there are none. That goes from establishing standards in league operations to building the systems that keep “the clock synced” between matches (and their delays) and the various data consumers in the space.
Maintaining the order for data delays to make sure betting odds change before the score changes on Google and before viewers (and in some cases competing players) see it on Twitch sounds very easy, but is an incredibly sensitive process – especially in a world where systems aren’t natively built to be connected and standards are not properly defined.
At Bayes, we are completely unique with our approach towards building long term partnerships which exclusively allow us to establish standards and build reliable systems, and we’re starting to tie into our partner’s systems very actively.
Secondly, we’re trying to move away from legacy technology where possible. Last year, we established BEDEX as the market leading game data delivery platform. This year, we’re expanding into all directions. We’re building a brand new betting data product from scratch, we’re building a new booking and reporting platform that automates lots of work for our clients, and we’re working on a set of smarter data infrastructure pilots with our key data partners. But that part is “top secret”.
And lastly, we’re pushing to tie in the esports ecosystems as much as possible by distributing esports data, making it useful and visible.
Together with our sister company Shadow.GG, we’re expanding the product line up for data visualisation and tools. We’re talking live data score widgets that allow for a more immersive media consumer experience, we’re talking visual data tools for the betting industry, as well as an expansion of our esports team training tools.
Visualising game data, making it accessible and consumable is a big driver of engagement with the fan base, with professionals, etc. We’ve started working with global media companies, e. g. L’Equipe in France, to attract new target groups.
SBC: So leaving 2020 behind, what’s on the agenda for 2021? What do you want to achieve?
AM: We are the market leader in esports data, period. Not by subjective perception but by any whatsoever metric. Achieving this within just 1.5 years is an unreal achievement that certainly neither side could have accomplished by themselves.
By the end of 2021, Bayes will be one of the top companies in esports and (still) one of the coolest places to work in the industry. We will make revenue in the double-digit million range with a team of 50 staff.
Bayes Esports will be the definition of data services in the esports industry, synonymous with professionalism, reliability, scale and customer focus. Staying in the number one spot can be harder than getting there. Especially in an industry where everyone claims to be the leader.
SBC: Esports is continuing to grow and could soon become quite a saturated market. What would you say makes Bayes Esports stand out from the competition?
AM: Half way into my career at Google, they had acquired Waze for over 1bn USD with a team of 70. I joined the Waze within Google as their first business development hire at around 110 staff and saw the company grow from 20 to 100M users in 3 years, from 70 to 350 staff and from zero to 100m USD in revenue. The secret to this explosive growth was Google letting Waze be their own organisation as much as possible and I’d say it’s one of the few “big corporate meets startup” success stories.
Our setup with Sportradar is different. We speak big company language, but we’re extremely agile. We have a working traditional sports data template, but we tweak it for esports. We are the only provider that can establish data partnerships of highest complexity at any time, and immediately scale to global monetisation through our JV with Sportradar. It’s a luxury that other startups in the space don’t enjoy, as they need to build supply and demand in a parallel, painstaking manner.
Quite interestingly actually, we started our business with the most complex of partnerships and are now also making them accessible for smaller players. Bayes Esports is trying to establish new concepts and new formats, as our recent partnership with Beyond the Summit is showing.
These guys started a cult esports event series in their house, on the couch, and years later, are a top partner for ESL, Valve and others. Still with a house and a couch, but that house sits in their own studio.
SBC: Speaking of partnerships, you recently signed a new agreement with BTS; can we expect any more high-profile alliances this month?
AM: One of the most anticipated esports tournaments in 2021 the Dota 2 Pro Circuit kicked off some days ago. The season 1 will play out in six regional leagues. Bayes Esports is proud to support the Latin America, North America, CIS and European regions with distribution of live in-game data and odds as well as partnerships.
The regional coverage is an important part of the esports. Independent Tournament organizers have reached a new quality level. We are focusing on the best ones out there.
SBC: And finally, what does the continued growth of Bayes Esports mean for your team going forward?
AM: To bridge that gap between now and then, we need and will invest in workforce, infrastructure, processes, tools, etc. But most importantly, we need for everyone to be on board with this vision and stand behind the mission.
This will be one hell of an exciting time. Growing will make things more complex and more complicated. Distributing growing workload across more shoulders will lead to conflict and to mitigate this, we need everyone’s support.
Focus on the goal, not on the individual. Focus on what you can do to help everyone grow, not what others should do for you. Communicate what you want and what you need, join the discussions and conversations where helpful. Help identify weak points and areas of improvement and help bring about change.
Our CEO Martin and I highly value team members that want to drive change. Our challenge is just to keep it aligned with company priorities and to balance the interest of individuals and groups in the company.