It’s probably a broken record to you at this point, but eSports is huge – it’s a multibillion-dollar business. Don’t worry if you’ve been ignoring the sport as nothing more than a trend. Apparently, marketing execs haven’t yet realized how wide the reach of the sport is. Nearly 30 million viewers tune into eSports-related content every month in the United States. We’re not even putting our scope worldwide – South Korea has the largest esports market in the world.
The eSports industry is enormous, and we believe most major sportsbooks haven’t quite tapped the market yet. That leaves an opening to pay per head bookies to make a move.
But first, you need to know where to focus your energy.
The Top Games in Esports
To market your eSports product properly, you need to understand what games to focus on. We’ve outlined the games that have historically been the most popular in the esports space and how they work:
- League of Legends: League of Legends is an eSport played between two five-man teams. The point of the game is to destroy your opponent’s main base, AKA a Nexus, and keep your own intact. Players pick “champions” with unique abilities at the beginning of the game to lead the attack, and it’s all about imposing strategies throughout the map to counter your players’ offense and defense. Think of a digital version of risk. Games last about 20 to 40 minutes.
- Dota 2: One of the main pillars of multiplayer battle arena gaming, Dota 2 functions mostly like League of Legends. The big difference is in the mechanics. The game is known for deeper strategies like couriers and killing your own minions or towers to prevent opponents from gaining experience or gold.
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: Before Call of Duty, there was Counter-Strike. The rules of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are pretty straightforward: It’s terrorists versus counter-terrorists. Kill all opponents, or the terrorists have to detonate a planted bomb. Games are best of 30, with each team able to improve their weapons as they accumulate victories.
- Overwatch: Overwatch is a team shooter with different characters meant to fill different roles. The roles are offense, defense, tank, and support. The most popular modes of play are Control, Assault, Escort, and Payload, which all feature a unique objective for each team. Control is reminiscent of a standard capture the flag-scenario, while Escort sees one team has to clear the path for a payload through three separate checkpoints
- Valorant: Another shooter with strategic similarities to CS: GO. It’s a five-vs-five character-based shooter where gunplay meets unique abilities in each character. There are 18 characters, and each has different abilities, which adds another strategic element to the game. The first team to reach 13 rounds wins the game. A round win can be achieved by either wiping out the enemy team, planting the spike (the bomb), defending it until it explodes, or defusing it. Maps can take anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes.
League of Legends Is Bet on the Most
Which game should you focus on? It’s definitely League of Legends. According to 2022 data, LoL makes for 38% of eSports betting online. Second is CS:Go at 29%, third is DOTA 2 at 18%, Other games at 8% and the ancient Starcraft 2 at 7%.
So if you’re new to the eSports game and want to know where to focus your bookie brain, LoL is the best place to start.
Lee “Faker” Sang Hyeok is the top LoL player as he’s won the League of Legends World Championships three times in 2013, 2015, and 2016 and has garnered approximately 1.43 million USD.
Match Bets are Most Popular
A match bet is essentially betting on the team to win the entire match, whatever those rules may be. It’s essentially a moneyline wager, which makes it understandable why it’s the most popular esports bet online.
Just like a moneyline bet, you’ll have a favorite and an underdog. In terms of moving the action or manipulating odds, we suggest you leave it to the original oddsmakers as you’re liable to have mostly casual bettors betting on esports rather than sharps.
Don’t ignore eSports. It’s growing and can be popular online or offline if the pandemic proves anything. It’s a wager that is impervious to weather or conditions. Therefore the opportunity to offer odds is year-round. A valuable tool for a bookie to handle the times when baseball is the only sport available.