Did you know that Esports viewership in 2017 for the League of Legends Championship outpaced The MLB World Series, the NBA Finals, and the Stanley Cup Finals?
If you come from outside the Esports world, you might think that it’s a super niche thing, based on a few buddies coming over on weekends to play some Call of Duty.
But you’d be wrong.
Goldman Sachs reports that Esports events gained over 167M viewers in 2018, and that this number is projected to grow to 276M people in 2022!
In addition, the people who are watching are the most coveted demographic, with over 79% of viewers being under the age of 35. Youtube & Twitch together forms a viewership larger than HBO, ESPN, and Netflix combined. Esports is getting so popular that even the International Olympic Committee and the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) hosted a forum on Esports, ahead of a possible inclusion into the Games in 2024.
How did this happen?
We at BetProtocol have been watching the Esports world very closely. We believe that one of the primary reasons that Esports has gained so much in popularity so fast is that it has egalitarian appeal.
Let’s face it, if you are not born with a certain genetic profile, you will never play in the NFL or NBA. No one of the BetProtocol team is over 6'4" and over 200 lbs. We won’t be throwing TDs for the Patriots or slam-dunking for the Pistons anytime soon. But if we spent 6–10 or more hours a day playing Fortnite, we could get a piece of the $100M championship prize.
The moral of the story: Almost anyone can be an Esports hero.
That’s why viewers love it so much. And these aren’t just casual viewers. Goldman reports that the average viewer spends almost 100 minutes a day watching Esports. If you are thinking what I’m thinking, that’s a lot of opportunity for advertising and gamification. Esports has captured the attention of the young masses. Now the game (pun intended) is to find better ways to serve them through gamifying the games through innovative and entertaining stakes.
Categories for monetising the Esports phenomenon commonly include: Sponsorship, Advertising, Media Rights, Tickets & Local events.
But we think that common analyses have overlooked a vertical in Esports that has just as much, if not more, potential than any of these categories: Esports Betting.
Just as a huge betting market evolved around “regular” sports such as football and basketball, we envision that a proportionally huge market will evolve around Esports. Today, websites like Oddsloot publish odds on Esports matches all over the globe, allowing people to bet on their favorite matches, and even do arbitrage.
But what if you wanted to make your own Esports betting application? If you ask around like we did, you’d find that you’d spend around a half a million dollars and months and months getting a gaming license. Pretty high barrier to entry! Wouldn’t you rather just go with a plug & play system with a ready made white-label and integrated KYC?
We believe that by laying the foundation for regulated gaming applications, we can unlock massive potential in gamification and gaming. Considering the fact that Esports viewers and participants are the same demographic as crypto users, creating an Esports white-label on BetProtocol is a no-brainer.
Why is this space growing so fast? Again, Goldman calls it the “Moneymaker effect”, and likens it to the World Series of Poker. In their report on Esports, Goldman references Chris Moneymaker, a poker amateur, who competed in the 2003 World Series of Poker, beat 839 players, and captured the $2.5M grand prize. Since then, the WSOP has increased their prize pool to $8.8M in the 2018 Main Event. The moral is that Moneymaker, who was an amateur and accountant as a day job, brought poker to the mainstream by making it seem like anyone could do it. Esports and Ninja are doing the same with Fortnite.
Imagine if every person who watches Esports (276M by 2022) were to wager just one dollar, two dollars, or ten dollars on an Esports match / gamification app per year–that would already be a huge market. Conservative estimates say that Esports is one of the fastest growing verticals in the betting industry, netting $650 Million in 2017, and projected to grow to $1.5 Billion by 2020.
And this is with the huge barriers to entry in place!
BetProtocol is here to smash barriers to entry into Esports Betting with its Esports white-label, while still maintaining high quality of service, security, and regulatory compliance.
Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post where we interview an Esports betting veteran, founder, and CEO on the industry.
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