Abios: Product features to make esports betting relevant for the right verticals  

Estimated read time 5 min read

Niclas Sundell, sales director at Abios, discusses where esports betting currently sits in a sportsbook and the product features needed to attract the next generation of bettors
The post Abios: Product features to make esports betting relevant for the right verticals   first appeared on EGR Intel.  

Esports betting has been a niche for quite some time. Counter-Strike, Dota 2 and League of Legends don’t attract the same audience as traditional sports, meaning sportsbooks must utilise novel user acquisition strategies to engage new players.

Nonetheless, with its digitally native and gaming-hungry audiences, esports has a strong growth trajectory in any sportsbook. 

The industry is growing, with titles such as League of Legends and VALORANT constantly reporting new viewership records. Most recently, MSI, the second most prestigious event in the yearly tournament circuit for League of Legends, saw a peak viewership of 2.8 million, surpassing the previous year by more than 500,000 viewers.

Simultaneously, most people betting on and viewing esports are in the Gen Z and millennial age brackets, making it a lucrative audience with increasing buying power – an important customer segment to any operator.

Having serviced sportsbooks of many sizes with data-driven esports solutions for more than eight years, Abios has grown with esports betting. We have seen sportsbooks that have invested in esports for a couple of years, both in product and marketing, come to see the vertical as a significant percentage of their turnover.

The sportsbooks that have instead treated it as a second-tier offering, with limited focus on development and marketing toward esports audiences, might have found it less lucrative.

User experience

At Abios and Kambi, we have found that esports doesn’t elicit much crossover from traditional sports. Instead, when esports fans enter sportsbooks, they start crossing over to sports. In fact, as many as 91% of esports bettors cross over to other sports verticals, with 85% betting on football, according to Kambi data.

In addition, esports fans are often younger than sports fans, providing sportsbooks with a new growth vertical for other disciplines, not just esports.

To make an offering interesting to esports fans, creating a user experience that delivers a similar experience to those they are used to from other, ultra-optimised digital interfaces is important. In a sportsbook, a common misconception is that this means the user experience should be gamified. This can entail leaderboards, mini games, possibilities for social interactions and more.

While these things can build engagement, a fast, performant and frictionless product is stickier than any add-on feature. When Spotify first started, its music streaming platform competed with the loading speeds of CD players or downloaded songs. The primary friction of listening to streamed tracks was that it could take several seconds for each track to load, which diminished the UX as opposed to owning a song.

As such, Spotify put significant effort into optimising the time it took to load a streamed track. This made all the difference, as it created an almost magical user experience: users could access a vast library of music with speeds comparable to if they had all of the songs downloaded on their computers.

While it is impossible to make a full apples-to-apples comparison to sports betting, there is a lot of product friction that infringes on the user experience. Especially for younger, digitally native fans who are used to seamless experiences delivered by on-demand services such as Spotify and Netflix.

In sports betting, there are certain built-in latencies, such as bet delays, but also those created by inefficiencies or slow data sources, such as low availability. These negatively impact the user experience, similar to when a video buffers or content isn’t available.

As such, a sportsbook could reduce friction by minimising the latency from a user placing a bet to the bet being accepted. With access to real-time data sources, Abios largely utilises automated trading. This means that machine learning algorithms trade matches instead of humans, minimising the risk of errors and allowing for faster decision-making processes.

With the models overseen by seasoned traders, Abios can cut latencies significantly while maintaining quality, allowing the entire betting experience to become smoother.

Player props

Another important aspect of any on-demand streaming service is coverage. To remain relevant and competitive, a strong collection of content is incredibly important. The same goes for sportsbooks.

While most might offer the tournaments and matches that esports fans care about, it is equally important to offer the markets that make their hearts sing. There is a broader shift in consumer behaviour in sports where younger audiences focus more on players than teams.

The same rings true for esports. As such, offering player props for all relevant players is crucial, as it can provide additional engagement in line with what the audience expects.

While esports betting has long lagged behind sports in terms of product quality and availability, we believe the market has made significant strides in recent years in both product development and knowledge sharing, enabling new and exciting product features to emerge that bridge the gap between the expectations of esports audiences and the performance of betting products.

Niclas Sundell is sales director at Abios, part of Kambi Group. As a former professional Counter-Strike player, Sundell has more than a decade of experience in esports. He has been vital to the growth of esports data and odds provider Abios, implementing his expertise to help new and old partners capitalise on esports. As a sales director, he works closely with the largest brands in sports betting to establish esports as a new growth vertical and develop the market.

The post Abios: Product features to make esports betting relevant for the right verticals   first appeared on EGR Intel.

 

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