- Esports remained strong during the pandemic
- While sports leagues were hit hard, gaming flourished
- With sports on a break, gambling-lovers turned to esports
As the pandemic threw numerous sports out of commission, more and more bettors started seeing the potential of esports as an alternative.
Esports – The Survivor of the Pandemic
COVID-19 hit the sports industry hard. Numerous leagues had to cancel or postpone their events and take a break. However, there is one competitive industry that didn’t receive quite the same blow – esports.
Esports, in fact, not only wasn’t hit hard but actually saw a huge increase in interest. For, while sports athletes couldn’t compete, esports players could just go online. This provided new betting opportunities to passionate gamblers.
According to Tiidal Gaming’s CEO, Charlie Watson, the pandemic propelled esports betting 2-3 years forward. It made people recognize esports’ betting potential and turned it into a legitimate alternative. Watson is among the many proponents of the legalization of single-game sports betting in Canada.
Professional services network Deloitte’s national leader for sport business advisory, Jeff Harris, views video games as a confluence of media, data, and technology.
“Esports can be an effective vehicle for operators to not only attract new customers but then also cross-sell into ‘traditional’ sport and iGaming products,” Harris adds.
North America as a whole has been a bit slower in adapting to betting. The United States allowed sports betting not too long ago, and Canada is currently divided over the idea of single-match betting. However, both countries hold huge potential for a boom in the betting industry.
The potential is based on the popularity of gaming – according to Deloitte’s data, 87% of generation Z and 83% of millennials play video games weekly.
Gamers Want a Quick and Reliable Way to Bet, Thomas RosanderSsays
Online bookmaker Luckbox’s new chief executive Thomas Rosander pointed out that many young people spend more time watching streams than playing themselves.
“That’s a really good prerequisite for a good esports betting business.”
The said streaming has done miracles for popularizing video games on the web, with some streamers making hundreds of thousands of dollars a month. Streaming platforms like Twitch boast millions of monthly views.
As a result, numerous multi-million video game businesses and events have formed, and many multi-million deals have been signed.
Sports leagues have started showing interest in esports and have led to some partnerships between sports and esports organizations. Some leagues started hosting their own events like FIFA and F1 establishing and e-series. Even the International Olympic Committee joined the trend.
Rosander described in the following way:
“The Gen Zs and millennials have a different approach to the kind of content and sports they look at – Instead of going to a Sunday game with a paper bet slip, and the esports bettor is watching Twitch and consuming a lot of online content. The betting experience has to be more video-game-like. They’re used to getting that endorphin kick repeatedly and very fast. They don’t have the patience to wait.”
Time will tell how the two industries will achieve balance with one another, but one is sure – the futures of esports and betting are tied.