For decades, sports fans have looked up to their favourite athletes – and now gamers are treating esports players in a similar fashion. Some in the younger generations are watching esports tournaments rather than traditional sports competitions, and this applies to the world of betting as well.
Betting and popularity: tight relationship
For several decades, video games have been a part of some people’s childhood. This kind of recreation was initially reserved for individuals or small groups of friends, whether it was split-screen gaming or LAN parties, but things changed with the arrival of fast internet speeds and online multiplayer games.
As well all know, people from different parts of the world could play video games against each other online, and we saw the rise of tournaments, first on a national scale and then globally.
With the rise of games like CSGO, League of Legends and Dota 2, and big tournaments with growing prize pools, esports skyrocketed – and these tournaments also became interesting to bookies.
We saw the same scenario that happened decades ago with the NFL, when betting apparently boosted the popularity of American Football significantly. Some say a similar thing is happening with esports today.
Rise in popularity
This causal relationship between betting and the rise in popularity of esports means more people are watching and placing bets on matches.
According to some estimations, esports games combined are more popular than some traditional sports. However, football is one of the major traditional sports that’s more popular than esports today. Some reports suggest esports are more popular than basketball and hockey.
Of course, we are talking mainly about younger generations – the age group between 10 and 35 years – and it looks like future generations will turn to esports as the industry grows.
To give you a picture, League of Legends World Championship finals had 73m peak concurrent viewership, higher than a lot of sports finals out there.
Back in 2014, Twitch, the popular livestreaming company, was acquired by Amazon for nearly $1 billion, and according to the latest statistics, it has 31 million average daily visitors. So the appetite for viewing esports online is still on the up.
Bookies know best
Of course, bookmakers saw the potential of esports years ago and, today, it’s an established market in its own right. It’s still not as big as traditional sports betting, but an important offering nonetheless.
Last year, the esports betting market apparently reached $15 billion and some believe it will continue to grow in the future.
According to Hector Brown, editor-in-chief at Foxbonus, the esports betting market is its fastest growing segment and the site has included several new brands including Stake.com & GGbet.
Will esports betting outgrow casinos?
Esports will probably not beat traditional sports betting one day, in terms of the market size. How about online casinos? Currently, the online casino market is doing well, it’s seen a rise in popularity and the industry measures in hundreds of billions of dollars around the world.
It will take a lot of time until esports becomes that big, if it does at all. Still, as older generations have a big share in the online casino’s popularity, new generations are rising up who tend to prefer esports instead of traditional betting forms, it may reduce this gap between the two modern forms of betting.
In any case, both forms of gaming will continue to evolve. We expect to see new forms of betting, particularly in the online casino industry, which may be able to appeal to upcoming generations as well.