Ondrej Silhavy, Bayes Esports

Ondrej Silhavy, Bayes Esports: shaping the future of esports betting

Ondrej Silhavy, Senior Sales Manager at Bayes Esports, assesses the ways that sportsbooks can create added value for esports bettors – and how having a company filled with esports fans is enabling Bayes Esports to “shape the future” of the sector.

With viewership numbers and prize pools in esports rapidly growing, bookmakers are revisiting their approach to esports betting. From a niche category forced somewhere between table tennis and snooker, esports is rising to the top three biggest betting categories.

However, only selected bookmakers are able to get the most out of their esports offerings, while others struggle. Why is that? And what value does esports bring to the table?

The customer is always right. An expression as old as time, yet seemingly forgotten. But the key to understanding esports betting lies exactly there. In understanding the customer. So who are they?

Esports betting customer typology

Let´s go from the bottom to the top. Esports betting is a subsection of esports and esports itself is a subsection of gaming. Gaming and esports are the biggest cultural phenomenon of today’s world.

Why? Because they are relevant to the youth of today.

When you talk to esports fans, you talk to the younger generation. The average esports fan is just around 23 years old. The same holds true for people betting on esports. The vast majority of them are between the ages of 23 and 30. A recent report published by esports focused betting operator Rivalry (90% of the company’s total betting handle originating is made up of esports) indicates that 82% of their customers are under 30 years old. Think about that for a second.

Now compare it to the average age of an NFL television viewer – 50 years old. Average NBA viewer? 42. The Average NHL television viewer is also getting older year by year. What does that mean?

Their fan bases are getting older because younger people are no longer interested in traditional sports. So while esports is still small compared to traditional sports when measured by absolute numbers, that is about to change. Anyone investing into esports is doing it with the future in mind. With every retired sports fan, there is an esports fan ready to replace him.

How to adapt esports to fit the customer needs and expectations

Comparing these customer bases, one question stands out. Just how different are they?
The answer is simple: Very, very different.

From the way they consume content, how they communicate, spend their money, or how they perceive value, esports fans are different in every imaginable way. Let’s have a look at content first, and how sportsbooks can satisfy that need.

Forget about gatekeeping content behind a paywall. Esports competitions are generally available to fans for free via Twitch or Youtube. That’s something sportsbooks can use to their advantage, as they can provide the full package, including a live feed, to their customers. No one wants to flip between tabs to watch the game and place a bet, especially for live betting. Speaking of live betting, the majority of esports bets are placed during the game, not before.

All the engagement generated throughout the game can be translated into betting volume.
Other ways of generating engagement are statistics, widgets, and information that is not available at first hand somewhere else.

Flash bets, a new product developed by Sportsflare, is something done exactly in line with the esports community’s behaviour. Quick bets with immediate results, allowing the fans to have something to bet on throughout the whole game. Bets that allow them to utilise their game knowledge to get an edge and be engaged in the match.

Esports fans WANT to be engaged. They want to be actively involved in the game. If you want to see an example, just go to Twitch. Not only can esports fans vote before the games, but they can also use their channel points (virtual points generated via viewership) to bet on certain outcomes. This is essentially betting without any monetary risk and has grown inside the community organically.

It’s not something forced, which is something every sportsbook will eventually learn. You can’t force anything on esports fans, and you can’t be fake. If you are not genuinely interested in the community, you will be spotted and called out. This is a double edged sword which companies like GGbet or Pinnacle were able to utilise to their fullest advantage, while others failed. Also, as a good reference, watch the communication channels of Rivalry. They know exactly how to communicate with gamers because that’s what they are. Gamers.

Benefits for the sportsbook

Now we come to a point where it´s legitimate to ask if all the work is worth it. Creating a new vertical, or maybe even a new brand or product page?

That depends purely on the vision of the sportsbook. There is no point in doing only the minimum amount of work, just so you can put a ticker next to the “esports” column. It will not work, I can guarantee you that.

By creating a product aligned with the needs of esports fans, you are building your future customer base. By sponsoring relevant events, you are placing your brand in front of the whole fanbase, establishing your brand as THE esports brand. For us at Bayes Esports, these things are obvious, because we are esports fans ourselves.

We know what esports fans want, and we understand that very well. We are building adequate solutions with our partners.Combining official live data with premium betting products allows us to offer something that was never done before. As a part of our BODEX launch we have already teamed up with BETER and Sportsflare to bring their products to the esports betting market. With statistics, widgets and sponsorship opportunities along the way, sportsbooks have an incredibly easy and engaging way into esports.

Shaping the future of esports betting has never been more fun.


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