“There is no ‘esports consumer.’ It’s much wider than that, with there being CS:GO consumers, DOTA consumers and so on” stated Adam Savinson of Win Technologies – Betway Group as Betting on Esports 2017 got underway.
Discussing who an esport consumer is Mr Savinson added: “You need to know to cater for their own communities, with esports being different to how traditional sports are treated. They’re used to having dedicated news portals, unlike football fans who’d look on the BBC where it’s listed alongside basketball.”
With a distinct disparity between esports and traditional sports highlighted, Rahul Sood from Unikrn elaborated: “Working with Tabcorp they bring in the traditional sport experience to us.”
“We see esports has a much younger median age compared to the average MLB consumer, which is 51, and the average PGA consumer, 64. Every day one MLB or PGA punter dies and two esports ones are born”
Growth is also key in any sector and Michael Doyle of PVP.me explained the necessity from which it is to do so in the correct manner: “A lot of companies come in wanting to make a quick buck.
“The esports audience can see that a mile off and will avoid it. You need to build with the community, show them you’re here to grow with them. Unikrn and Betway have done this well through their content. The consumers always want more.”
Another way with which to grow could be through the use of ambassadors and sponsorships, with Scott Burton of ESP saying: “There are some people we wouldn’t touch. You need to do research to determine who’s right for your brand before just jumping in based on follower numbers.
“I don’t see much difference between esports and traditional sports ambassadors though”.
Something Viktor Wanli of Kinguin didn’t wholeheartedly agree with, before explaining his own approach: “We look to see how we can work with their audience after a sponsorship, with constant community engagement”.
Cycling became the focus of a sponsorship based discussion; the advantages of aligning yourself with a current team or creating your own organisation the focal point.
Malph Minns, of Strive Sponsorship, has previously worked with Team Sky and on the issue he had this to say: “With Team Sky, it was difficult to for some brands to understand how they might get cut through in a relationship with us, having a media owner and big brand like Sky also sponsoring the team.
“We worked hard to show how this could be done and how they would actually benefit from this relationship, not hinder their return on investment and we were keen for brands to be involved, not just for the sponsorship income, but for their related activations to help grow the media footprint and profile of the team – thus increasing value further.”
Wanli offered a different perspective, however, with his Kinguin company instead running their own team: “We see it better to run our own brand, as the community connect better that way.”
There are of course difficulties with esports, something Suraj Gosai of Blinkpool explained: “We’ve been working with the UK Gambling Commission closely in order to get our license, as it’s a different format to most other bookmakers. We have to explain in detail to them because we’re first to the market.”
Adding about how his company’s model differs: “After listening to those coming from a traditional background and losing money, we felt it was better to develop a way for people to bet against each other, rather than the house.”
Building on this through his cycling experience, Minns said: “Lots of money came into cycling after Team Sky’s success and the resultant growth of the sport in the UK, but a number of companies made poor sponsorship decisions on the basis of not understanding the sport and audience, not getting great advice and some rights holders not having the right experience in place to service them adequately.
“Their pull out came alongside a ‘Cycling doesn’t work’ tag when in fact a confluence of failures was to blame.
“Esports rights holders need to take time to properly understand non-endemics requirements and what success looks like, as well as have the team capable of delivering this, to ensure something similar doesn’t occur.”
Whereas Mr Savinson simply stated: “Throwing money at esports is bad. You need to develop what works and what doesn’t, and that includes working with communities to come in”.
In spite of this panellists were asked for their opinion on the growth of esports in the next five years, with estimates ranging from anything between double to ten times.