The Esports industry has been gradually establishing itself as a legitimate and professional venture for its participants, and an engaging and exciting hobby for its legions of passionate spectators. As Esports continues to grow its sphere of influence, all the hallmarks of an established sport are becoming part of the fabric of this competitive market. Prize pots continue to grow to unprecedented levels, gaming teams and leagues are increasingly professional and organised, and an array of broadcasters cover the larger events, like the FIFA eWorld Cup.
However, one factor of professional sporting pedigree is also on the rise in Esports, and that’s betting. Whilst traditional sporting markets like football and horse racing still dominate sports betting, punters are also increasingly opting to choose Esports bets, and there are a number of reasons why betting fans are flocking to Esports, which could have big implications for the industry as a whole.
The Origins of Esports and the rise
If you’re a complete “noob” when it comes to the world of Esports, then don’t worry, we’ll give you a bit of the background so that you’re all up to speed.
Esports is the competitive video gaming sector, which sees the cream of the crop of the video gaming world battle it out on their chosen game, often in front of thousands of both live and virtual spectators. Whilst its beginnings may be humble in their origin, Esports is now big business, and as such, more and more money is flowing in via investment to this emerging phenomenon. In 2019, over $211 million was awarded to victorious teams and players, a 29% jump from 2018.
So as you can see, Esports is continuing to rise rapidly.
Esports betting and games to wager on
If you have even a middling interest in PS4, PC or XBox video games, then your favourite titles are likely represented at Esports competitive levels, and bookies now offer markets and promotions surrounding the most popular games. There are hundreds of different professional spheres which Esports players compete in, and a great deal of the events that take place within the most popular games have corresponding betting markets (i.e. number of kills in Call of Duty).
Massively popular titles like Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 are usually well represented on Esports betting platforms, and owing to the amount of people that are now wagering on Esports there are now a plethora of Esports betting related promotions for punters to take advantage of. Most bookmaker brands that are listed on the free bets uk website offer free bets and no deposit offers, driving interest in this emerging pastime.
Landmark events like tournament finals such as the 2020 League of Legends World Championship can attract huge numbers of bets, as fans opt for a punt on their beloved gaming teams, and this trend is looking set to accelerate further as we move into 2021 and beyond.
Esports: The numbers
We’ve already mentioned what a profitable business Esports is for its organizers, and indeed the multiple industries which are supported by its surging popularity. Obviously, this includes betting companies, and by the end of 2020 is estimated that $12.9 billion will have been wagered globally on Esports betting. Professional gaming was able to move online fairly seamlessly in the wake of the restrictions on live events which crippled other sports, so the industry didn’t suffer as much during this torrid period.
Customer numbers for Esports betting are also continuing to grow, with a base projection for the number of punters placing wagers on Esports in 2020 at over 6.5 million. The international popularity of Esports, especially in the far-East, where other sports like football and horse racing haven’t yet truly galvanized the population only makes Esports markets more attractive for betting companies, so expect to see even more invested in widening the appeal of Esports betting.
What about the future?
As far as industry experts can see, there isn’t anything on the horizon that could burst the Esports bubble anytime soon, so expect to hear more and more about Esports and its associated betting markets over the next few years. We don’t imagine it will be long before broadcasters start to devote more and more television time to bringing major Esports competitions to their customers, and advertisers will begin to target betting adverts in tandem with these broadcasts.
There is of course something of a stigma around Esports which remains in the minds of some perhaps older and more traditional sports fans, but as the number of interested Esports spectators and punters continues to grow, the stigma will surely dissipate, and Esports will be accepted fully.