2017 — The year eSports really goes mainstream
In 2016 reports showed that over one billion people are aware of eSports the industry brought in around one billion dollars the same year. Both analysts and experts see 2017 as a year this growth continues, and that in a fast pace, as this will be the year eSports goes mainstream.
Pol Ruiz is the co-founder and CEO of Playfulbet, one of the biggest social betting platforms in Europe with over seven million users. They were one of the first startups that saw the eSports wave coming:
I have to say that eSports have evolved a lot since we started Playfulbet four years ago. At the time we were the only ones offering betting on eSports (though not with real money). Today all the betting sites lets you bet on eSports and it’s growing rapidly month over month.
Talking about sports, the only thing growing faster than eSports itself, is betting on eSports. According to the market analyst SuperData the eSports market will be worth 1.8 billion by the end of 2018. The sum is small compared to the betting market says Pol:
What many analysts doesn’t take account for is the betting industry around eSports which is also growing exponentially, and is anticipated to generate around $20 billion in turnover by 2020.
Gamers are more loyal than football supporters
Stadiums used for traditional sports, are filling up with energetic audiences hungry for eSports live tournaments. It’s important to note that there are several key differences between the normal sports fan and the eSports enthusiasts.
The things that are special with eSports fans is that they support, interact and are much active than normal sports fans. They identify themselves with the game in a bigger degree than with other sports fans, and this makes the eSports sector both so interesting and valuable.
Pol and his team at Playfulbet are monitoring both sports sectors, and see trends emerging.
The industry is exploding, and especially after many traditional football and basketball teams got associated with the online sports games, and even formed professional eSports teams.
Mainstream means money
Until now eSports has been associated with one particular kind of demography, but that is changing rapidly, according to Pol:
As traditional TV and mass media companies are entering, this is becoming a mainstream thing. In Spain there’s TV channels dedicated to eSports and Mediapro is covering the LVP (the national eSports league in Spain).
As most experts predict, the eSports sector will continue to grow fast the next couple of years, particularly with the entry of mainstream brands and additional famous profiles from the traditional sports world.
Focused on eSports because no one else did
To strengthen their focus on eSports, Pol and Playfulbet is adding more gaming streams to the platform:
we’re integrating streaming of eSport matches so you can follow the games you’ve been betting on without leaving the platform, and you can also chat with your community watching the same games. But there’s still much more to be done for the eSports community using the platform.
Playfulbet moved over the offering bets on eSports fairly early because of one main reason:
We added eSports mostly because no one else did it, so for us it was a competitive advantage. We’re still not more focused on eSports with respect to other sports, but we’re working on offering even more content and functionality in this niche.