Anthony Werkman – Betway – Fnatical about esports

Betway is betting big on esports. As one of the foremost promoters of esports amongst the UK’s major bookmakers, it recently sponsored a Betway Fight Night between Team Fnatic and Team Astralis.

We spoke to Director of Marketing and Operations at Betway Anthony Werkman about this, how its carving out a reputation in esports communities and the particular need for a separate understanding of each and every esport a bookmaker offers markets in to succeed.

Anthony Werkman, Betway
Anthony Werkman, Betway

SBC: What made Betway decide to sponsor the CS:GO Fight Night? Have you seen a notable increase in betting on esports markets, and moreover new registrations?

Anthony: Esports has exploded in recent years, and interest on the betting side has certainly followed suit. We’re now regularly seeing esports in our top 10 sports for daily turnover, and it continues to grow for us.

Last year, we were the first major bookmaker to launch a dedicated esports portal, and made a huge investment in our esports trading team too. All of the Betway team who work on esports are fans, first and foremost. They live, eat and breathe DOTA 2, CS:GO and LoL. That is why our product is so well respected within the esports community.

We’ll continue to make further investments in our esports product, as well as our support for the wider industry. Our sponsorship of the Betway Fight Night is just one part of this, so look out for us in future supporting big esports events.

SBC: With esports particularly well suited for live betting, how much action did the inplay markets see in the showmatch between Fnatic and Astralis?

Anthony: We provided over 110 markets for the Betway Fight Night and were very pleased with the betting response, across all of the areas including pre-event and in-play.

SBC: How has the promotional strategy been adjusted with this campaign over those in more traditional sports? Is the esports audience that different?

Anthony: The reality is that there is a large, knowledgeable and active esports betting crowd. The key to the promotion is to show that we’re serious about esports and not just paying lip-service to what is a very closely followed, and serious, sporting sector.

It isn’t good enough to just offer esports prices. Alongside our market-first bespoke portal, we’ve also launched a dedicated Betway esports twitter account, which is growing in popularity by the day, in addition to sponsoring events such as Betway Fight Night.

 SBC: Skins betting is hugely popular throughout many different esports. Is this something you’ve taken into account, and is there a way for traditional bookmakers to get involved and capitalise on this trend? There was a CS:GO Tiger Tooth Flip Knife prize giveaway associated with this Fight Night for instance…

Anthony: Understanding the esports market is the first challenge to finding success in any market, which is one of the reasons why we’ve ensured our dedicated trading team is packed with real fans of esports.

With that in mind, we’re well aware of the popularity of skins betting, but real money markets will always be the focus for Betway and that’s the way that the esports market will grow and find more popularity.

That’s not to say we won’t use skins as one way to promote our markets to esports fans – we know this is something that matters to the esports players. It’s in much the same way as we might use football memorabilia in our partnership with West Ham United, or Betway Premier League Darts tickets during the tournament. We want to give fans attractive markets, but also bring them closer to the action and enjoy the sports that they’re betting on in new and exciting ways.

 SBC: Having been part of the sportsbook for over six months now how much does esports account for in terms of turnover at Betway? Moreover, have you noticed a trend in certain esports such as CS:GO being favoured over others?

Anthony: As mentioned above, esports is now regularly in our top 10 sports for daily turnover, and is a crucial part of our overall sportsbook offering. There are clear favourites in terms of the games that attract the largest interest, with CS:GO being just one of an elite band that includes blockbusters such as DOTA 2, LoL and Starcraft. That said, the top games are constantly changing and we’re continually making sure we offer markets on the battles and areas that people want to bet on.

SBC: Can we expect to see further sponsorships in esports? Will there be a Betway team one day soon…

Anthony: Esports is only going to get bigger and more popular, so who knows? We’ll keep showing our support with new products, markets and making the right partnerships and sponsorships, so never rule it out.

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