A look back at Betting on Esports: A brand discussion

Betting on Esports 2017 hosted a plethora of expert speakers across two days back in September.

Panels covering legal issues, the state of data, the Vegas opportunity, legal issues around esports and bookmaker approach all drew a packed audience as delegates were treated to intriguing discussion around pertinent topics in the esports space. The opening panel, and one of the best focused around building a brand in esports. The esports demographic is often touted as difficult to reach and unique in itself, and the panel offered their thoughts on the issue at hand.

The panel was moderated by Kirsty Endfield, Founder of Swipe Right PR and featured Viktor Wanli, CEO of Kinguin, Scott Burton, CEO of ESP, Malph Minns, Managing Director of Strive Sponsorship and Adam Savinson, Head of Esports at Win Technologies (part of the Betway Group). Here’s a brief look back at one of the many topics discussed on a wide-ranging panel.

“I think the way I look at things is never from a point of view of labelling it an ‘esports consumer’, much as I would never look at things as a sports consumer”

Clearly, the debate around approaching the esports demographic remains very much relevant. As more non-endemics enter the space, they’re warned of a community who can be overly sensitive when being targeted by corporations and brands alike. Equally, the age range and demographic sits in the coveted “millennials” range and thus they’re an attractive audience.

Minns led discussion, stating: “I think the way I look at things is never from a point of view of labelling it an “esports consumer”, much as I would never look at things as a “sports consumer” as it’s too broad an aggregation of the industry. If you look at traditional sports, a football fan is very different to a cricket fan who is different to a hockey fan and that level of assumption should carry through to esports”.

He continued: “Quite a lot of the reports we see from the likes of Newzoo and Superdata contain aggregations, and at least for me, when advising clients, I like to understand the specific title or territory before I actually look and try and understand the audience that engages”.

Savinson offered staunch agreement, commenting: “Esports is an umbrella term. You can’t just say “who is an esports consumer?” It’s actually, who’s a CS:GO consumer? I think one key difference between sports is the attitude of esports consumers towards bigger companies. These guys, myself included, have always been ignored for years and years. Suddenly, lots of big organisations are coming in and making sure you’re not a pretender and actually know your stuff is vital to portray to esports customers”.

Wanli offered a somewhat different viewpoint: “Before anything else, the esports consumer is actually a video games consumer. Now it’s becoming even more visible, the category of watching video games, as it becomes more entertaining and people are not necessarily even playing the game anymore. They just enjoy watching it.”

“It feels like they’re a part of the community, whereas, and again this is a generalisation, traditional sports fans tend to be consumers of entertainment rather than feeling part of the fabric of the industry”

Minns concluded initial discussions, outlining: “I think there’s interesting points around the audience and how they engage with content. One thing I’ve seen, coming from a traditional sports background and looking at the esports consumer is that an esports consumer very much feels like they’re a part of esports. It feels like they’re a part of the community, whereas, and again this is a generalisation, traditional sports fans tend to be consumers of entertainment rather than feeling part of the fabric of the industry and the scene.”

The conference saw over 25 speakers all in all across six panels, and formed part of the larger Betting on Sports conference which drew 1,500 attendees. Millennial Esports was the platinum sponsor of Betting on Esports 2017, and the company has since gone from strength to strength via acquisitions, investments and the growth of their own corporate team. Betting on Esports will once again be taking place in September 2018, but prior to that we’ve another event which should be of interest.

The ESI Super Forum, will focus on the convergence of traditional sports and esports, and will take place in London on Thursday March 22nd. This one is a move away from betting specifically, but will run alongside the wider SBC Betting on Football Conference at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge home. It will follow on from the success of the ESI Forum Series, hosted at Fnatic’s Bunkr, in the second half of 2017. 

Esports Insider Editor Sam Cooke stated: “The ESI Forum Series proved a hit and we’re excited to step it up with the Super Forum.

“The crossover between sports and esports is a hot topic right now, and this’ll continue to be the case going forward as evidenced by franchise slots in the NA LCS, the Overwatch League and other investments by both teams and individuals from the world of sports more broadly.”

He added: “With the Super Forum we’ll provide a place for those from both worlds to meet, discuss and learn from one another. Hopefully some deals can be struck too! And, as always, we’ll make sure everyone has a good time whilst there with engaging debates, tournaments, and plenty of good food and drinks throughout and at the official after party.”

The ESI Super Forum, Thursday 22nd March, London

 Find out more here

Message sam@esportsinsider and ollie@esportsinsider with any questions