The History and Growth of eSports Part One
In this week’s post, we will be covering the first part on the brief history of eSports, and what has contributed to the growing popularity of eSports. We will also discuss why and what makes eSports so ideal for sports betting.
The eSports scene and industry has certainly enjoyed fast popularity growth in the last few years. It seems that not only are people flocking towards eSports for betting, they are genuinely interested in the wide range of sports on offer, and the players and teams involved. Due to the various dynamics involved, there can be a lot of surprises and changes in mere moments. This exciting nature of eSports may be why there is such a loyal and growing following. To add to the growth of the industry, many eSports matches are shown live for free online which makes it much more accessible for the fans.
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for bettors wanting to get involved in the eSports industry. Firstly, eSports was not widely recognised as a legitimate sport, and many big betting exchanges and operators did not accept or offer any markets to do with eSports. These exchanges and operators did not believe that this industry would become mainstream as the industry was highly unregulated and prone to match rigging and fixing. Another reason that eSports took so long to become established as a sports betting option was due to the fact that the largest proportion of the target audience were aged below 18, which meant that they could not legally place bets. Due to this, skin betting became dominant as a form of eSports betting, and any form of betting involving real money was limited to wagers between friends and some dodgy online sites. However, once eSports became more widely known, things changed pretty quickly.
It was those aforementioned young enthusiasts of eSports who were first to suggest to the bookmakers to start offering eSports on their sites. Initially, bookmakers believed that eSports betting was something only a few bettors would be attracted to, and furthermore, they did not know much about the markets. To add to this, due to the relative young ‘age’ of eSports, there was not a whole lot of data available to perform complicated statistical analyses to set the odds. However, the bookmakers began to take eSports more seriously once they realised how many people worldwide were interested, and gradually began offering a small number of markets. Once eSports betting markets were established, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. The bookmakers were not making a lot of money from eSports bets, primarily due to the relatively low betting volume compared to other markets, and also due to the fact that the bettors knew a lot more about the matches than the bookmakers or the oddsmakers.
Things started to change as the years went on, as the number of viewers ant the popularity of eSports grew, the betting markets for the eSports also grew along with it. This made sense, as the most watched eSports event in 2017 topped 45 Million viewers at the Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice. Highly popular events such as these showed the bookmakers the huge potential for eSports, and things became much more organised for the better.
In the next post, we will be covering the real rise of betting, and what the future holds in this domain.