Choosing the right esports data provider is essential to secure a solid market share and avoid costly risks.
Great Opportunities in Esports Betting
The esports market is rapidly growing in terms of both audience size and revenue. In its 2018 Global Esports Market Report, market analyst company Newzoo estimates that the audience size is expected to reach 307 million Occasional Viewers1 and 250 million Esports Enthusiasts by 2021 which corresponds to a 14% Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in audience size from 2018 to 2021. Furthermore, non-betting esports revenues alone are expected to reach $1.7B by 2021 with a CAGR of 28% over the same period.
Based on these numbers, it’s clear that the esports market isn’t fully saturated yet – there’s still room for either more companies to grab a market share or for existing esports bookmakers to take even more market share.
Establishing market share and brand awareness within the esports space has a huge potential not only due to its size and significant growth rates but also due to the characteristics of the audience .
“Esports entertains a young and desirable demographic [that is] increasingly difficult to reach through traditional advertising as they spend less time watching TV, listening to the radio and reading printed media” (Newzoo). Furthermore, the esports audience is high earners compared to the general online population as shown below.
Online bookmakers face several risks they need to take into account when choosing a data provider to power their esports offering. Risks include delayed bet settlements, bet refunds due to errors, incorrect odds calculations and lack of betting opportunities (also known as “markets”).
As esports is still a relatively immature industry, with new top-level leagues, tournaments and even teams being created every year, it is non-trivial to ensure high data integrity. Bookmakers should check that esports data providers use reliable data sources and have solid processes in place to verify the integrity of their data.
The esports audience is characterised as highly detail-oriented and to actively engage with statistics and analytics from matches. For League of Legends, one of the most viewed esports in the world, it’s possible to offer more than 50+ standard markets for any given match, for example, markets on which team got the most gold, most kills, highest experience, etc. The audience is highly interested in those statistics and therefore it is very likely that they will choose the betting providers with the broadest selection of markets.
In other words, the perfect esports data provider delivers deep data with high integrity in order for you to maximise profitability and minimise risk.
Practical Advice on Choosing Esports Data Provider
Below we have listed eight questions any bookmaker should consider before before choosing an esports data provider:
1. Do They have a High Level of Data Integrity?
First of all, high data integrity is the cornerstone of any esports data provider. If the data quality is low or starts to deteriorate you stand to lose profit and credibility with your customers, as well as spending too much manual labour on error-checking and mitigation.
2. Which Games do they Cover?
The second criterion is the coverage. You should naturally ensure that the data provider offers data on the games you are interested in adding to your offering. As a starting point, they should cover the most popular esports: League of Legends, Counter Strike Global Offensive and Dota 2.
3. How Deep is their Data?
Covering a variety of different game titles is a great starting point, but the depth of esports data is also of great importance as you can create more markets per match the deeper the data. If the data isn’t deep enough it will both lose value and interest with the detailed-oriented audience.
4. What is the Delay in their Data?
Faster data is almost always preferable, however, the importance of speed depends on the specific usage.
Affiliate sites and esports communities often only need match scores within minutes. For online bookmakers looking for data for bet settlement and result verification, getting the data within less than a minute will be sufficient. Live score sites and online bookmakers offering live esports betting would likely need the data within very few seconds.
Since pricing rises exponentially as delay decreases one should consider carefully the needs of the specific application.
5. Are they Esports Focused?
Focusing on your strengths most often leads to the best results. Choosing a data provider that only focuses on esports will give you an advantage regarding the speed of new features, data depth, etc. Another advantage is that esports-focused data providers are more likely to understand the audience – they are in tune with the market and as such are more likely to ensure their services cater to them.
6. How is the Data Captured?
Data capture method may not appear important for the bookmaker, but it does provide an insight into the depth and integrity of the data. The most basic method of data capture involves manual labour monitoring esports matches and type in results and other data points. This method can generate a high amount of anomalies in the data and it is almost impossible to secure data depth as human inputs per second are limited.
Our recommendation is to find esports data providers uses automated methods of capturing data. This improves speed and accuracy compared to manual data entry.
7. Do they Offer Data Guarantees on Speed and Reliability?
You need to understand which guarantees the data provider offers and how it translates to how well you are secured. What happens in scenarios if the data is incomplete or you simply don’t receive it? We recommend that you understand the procedure and who is responsible. Is the data esports data provider offering data speed guarantees and how many anomalies within a given time frame is acceptable? Those are two very important questions.
8. Do they Offer Integration and Day-to-Day Support?
Accessing and integrating an API is a complex and time-consuming task. To optimise the process, it’s important that the API is well-documented and that there is competent and reachable support ready to help with both integration and day-to-day questions and issues.
1Occasional Viewers watch esports less than once a month while Esports Enthusiasts watch esports more than once a month and/or participate in (amateur) esports leagues.