In the world of professional competition, eSports can no longer be viewed as an outlier, or as a niche sport. The world of competitive online gaming isn’t just moving toward the mainstream, eSports has arrived on the main stage.
A sure sign that eSports has been accepted as a legitimate pursuit is in how the large online betting sites are embracing the concept. It’s difficult to locate a big-time online sportsbook that doesn’t carry odds on eSports. And it’s not only the major events that are being assigned betting lines. There are eSports wagering options available every day, and with as many markets as a bettor might find on an NFL game or EPL match.
This shouldn’t be surprising, though. The online betting industry has always strived to remain on the cutting edge and generally is quick to recognize and embrace opportunities to find new revenue streams. In fact, sports betting sites were among the first industries to see the potential of the internet and take advantage of the opportunity. More recently, they’ve accessed the world of cryptocurrency, accepting most funds that operate within the blockchain as a deposit option to player accounts. The mobile betting apps created by the leading online sports betting sites are on the cutting edge of technological development, offering access to every bell and whistle that’s available on each of their websites.
One of the sites that’s leading the way in terms of buying into eSports is Betway. An online sports betting site that’s offered wagering on traditional sporting events since 2006, Betway was among the first online betting sites to offer wagering on eSports. Today, they’ve taken their investment in the product even further by sponsoring eSports events, leagues and teams.
Betting On eSports
Betway made some bold moves during the final quarter of 2020 to embolden its presence and awareness across the eSports empire.
In September, Betway announced that it would sponsor a pair of eSports events – AMD SAPPHIRE OGA DOTA PIT EU/CIS from September 20th-26th and AMD SAPPHIRE DOTA PIT CHINA that was held from September 29th through October 8th 2020.
Around the same time, Betway also announced a one-year deal to sponsor South American eSports team Beastcoast, who field teams in Dota 2, VALORANT, Rainbow Six Siege, Mortal Kombat, Super Smash Bros. and Dragonball Fighter Z.
“Beastcoast are the dominant force in South American DOTA 2 and therefore a natural choice to join the Betway family,” Adam Savinson, Head of Esports at Betway, said in a statement.
Betway has also sponsored other eSports teams, including Ninjas in Pyjamas, ESL One, BIG Clan and Intel Extreme Masters.
Sponsoring teams and leagues is nothing new to Betway. In the UK, they’ve served as presenting sponsor for Premier League Darts. Since 2015, they’ve also held a shirt sponsorship deal with English Premier League club West Ham United. They also sponsor Belgian club RSC Anderlecht. For the past three years, Betway was the sponsor of the Grand National steeplechase.
Esports Are Here To Stay
Estimates are that $14 billion was wagered across all eSports platforms in 2020. That number only figures to grow and the popularity of eSports continues to move it into the mainstream of sporting society.
By getting in on the ground floor in terms of both offering eSports betting and actively carving out a place for their brand with eSports teams and events, Betway is positioning themselves to gain a foothold within eSports culture as a corporate sponsor that not only sees the value of eSports, but also gains them a foothold within the eSports culture.
Betway’s current range of eSports coverage includes Dota 2, Overwatch and Counter Strike: Global Offensive as well as League of Legends and Starcraft 2. Bettors can wager on all the biggest tournaments, including the Dota 2 TI, the LOL Worlds Tournament, the ESL Pro League, the Starcraft World Game Masters and the Overwatch Apex/ Premier series.
Through their Betway Insider, in which they have a separate eSports news page, Betway is informing and connecting with eSports fans.
Betway seems to get the eSports players and fans. They recognize that those who follow Counter Strike: Global Offensive are likely quite different from the supporters they’ve connected with by sponsoring West Ham United.
This understanding that eSports is for the most part a completely separate entity that likely doesn’t have any desire to wager on soccer or rugby is enabling Betway to establish credibility within the eSports community that they believe their events to be just as significant as the FA Cup or Super Bowl.