Should Traditional Sports Betting Fans Get into eSports?

Posted by Derrick Harper on March 7, 2016 in

If you’re wondering what the word eSport online betting even means, you’re not the only one. After all, for decades now, many people have associated computers and sports with video games, whether it was Nintendo’s Tecmo Bowl or EA Sports’ iconic “Madden” series of NFL simulation games. People played the games and enjoyed them, but it seemed like something that would stay in media rooms and basements.

Should Traditional Sports Betting Fans Get into eSports?


Not anymore. The eSports industry has now become a serious industry. Mega-agency WME | IMG now represents pro players and teams — not from the NHL or the NFL but from eSports leagues. The media and marketing agency rEvolution has put together a subsidiary just for eSports consulting called rEvXP. GMR, a marketing agency with a shelf full of awards for global engagement, has started its own consulting wing in the eSports realm.

Some of the biggest consumer sports brands are jumping in as well. Red Bull, Monster, and Coca-Cola were among the first companies to jump in, and they have gained some benefits. GMR and rEvXP want to expand the branding that is taking place in this new industry. As Matt Hill, the senior VP for Global Sports and Entertainment at GMR put it, “We have 15 years of experience in the gaming space, but over the past four months or so we began to heavily monitor the eSports space and identify opportunities to educate clients on what the white spaces are. A lot of brands don’t understand what the opportunities are. We are starting to see brands recognize the need to be up to speed on this and how rapidly the space is growing.”

GMR got in with Microsoft when Xbox came out in 2001, helped Intel put together its sponsorship involvement with the Intel Extreme Masters (international tournaments in eSports) and helped XFINITY put together the XFINITY Games. GMR also hosted the first eSports industry brand summit back in October in New York City, talking about different ways to invest in eSports.

So should traditional sports fans consider putting their money into companies that are pursuing eSports opportunities? Look at it this way. There are 35 million eSports fans in the United States, as Hill notes. The demographic is in the sweet spot as far as purchasing power, both today and tomorrow — 16-34 years of age. The fact that more people are watching global eSports tournaments than events like the Stanley Cup playoffs, the NBA playoffs and the MLB playoffs means that there are opportunities for companies to make money — and for investors looking for the next area of growth.

In May 2015, SuperData released findings that the global market in eSports is worth $612 million, and there are 134 million people in its global audience — and it’s growing. People have filled Madison Square Garden for a two-day League of Legends eSports live competition, and they did the same thing in Berlin’s Merecedes-Benz Arena for the League of Legends World Championship Final in 2015 — with the final selling out just three minutes after tickets went on sale.

Billions of dollars are about to enter the wagering on eSports competitions. So if you are looking for the next “in” for your investment fund, take a look at some of the consulting groups in this industry that have gone public. If you’re looking for a new way to boost your online betting account, it’s time to start thinking about putting wagers down on those contests too.