When COVID-19 struck in 2020, it affected all major professional sports, including the NBA, NHL, WNBA and NFL. As a result, there was a significant decline in sports betting as bettors had very limited options to bet on. One of the sports that bettors could bet on was eSports.
Competitions such as Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CSGO), League of Legends, Fortnite, Dota 2, NHL and FIFA offered starved punters enough opportunities to place wagers. Multiple esports companies such as Toronto based Tiidal Gaming benefitted greatly during the COVID-19 phase.
The CEO of Tiidal Gaming, Charlie Watson said that COVID-19 accelerated the rate of betting opportunities in esports by two to three years while also legitimizing them.
Lazarus esports which belongs to Tiidal Gaming is Canada’s first esports team and are optimistic that Canada will push forward with the amendment to its criminal code and allow single event sports betting which will include esports betting.
Jeff Harris, who is the national leader for sport business advisory at Deloitte’s said that he was very positive on the global video gaming market which included esports. Harris believes that companies can leverage the esports market and cross-sell their products which would be beneficial to those in iGaming and sports betting.
Deloitte’s global center for media, technology, and telecommunications has found that playing video games is a favorite among those in the 14 to 38 age group, whereas 83% of millennials and 87% of Gen Z play every week. Thomas Rosander, who is the head of an esports-wagering site, said that watching video games more than playing is also considered a good prerequisite for esports betting.
Social Media Helping eSports Growth
Social media’s role in driving awareness around esports games, esports leagues and their stars, has helped increase the popularity of esports and brought in a lot of new esports fans from around the world.
For example, Score Media and Gaming, Inc., a Canadian company, announced that the esports platforms for theScore registered over 186 million video views during their second-quarter. Aubrey Levy, senior VP for content and marketing at theScore said they also have a dedicated newsroom to explain esports betting options to mainstream sports fans as they expect more of these bettors to try esports betting.