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How esports are saving the betting market

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How esports are saving the betting market
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

It almost doesn’t matter in which part of the world we are currently sitting. The struggle with coronavirus has affected operations in all kinds of businesses. One of the highlights of the situation is the cancellation of all major sports leagues, be it NBA, NHL or MLB. But in the light of all these events, one type of entertainment still continues through all this chaos – esports.

We have seen it first in China. Even though the LPL, China’s regional League of Legends competition was paused in early January, it very quickly switched to online mode, which allowed the competition to continue without any necessary risks involved. In some way, esports are coming a little bit back to their roots, where online tournaments were the bread and butter of the competition.  And not only that esports continue to operate, at the moment they are stronger than ever . With many people sitting at home, esports’ events continue to be one of the regular things remaining to be seen. Even more importantly, esports’ viewers, mostly sitting at home, are very used to watching events on Twitch or Youtube, so it’s not a big change for them. Looking at Europe, we see that the LEC league of League of Legends was briefly paused to prepare the online solution, while CS:GO tournaments like the Flashpoint, ESL pro League or ESEA continue almost as if nothing happened.

Pavol Krasnovsky, CEO of esports analytics company RTSmunity, commented on the situation: “Even before current crisis, many betting operators realised that it is time to redefine their opinion regarding significance of Esports in their sportsbook offer. With all major sports events and leagues being cancelled or rescheduled, esports are becoming main target of punters, all around the world. In upcoming months, esports offer will become one of main deciding factors in punter´s choice of bookmakers.”

On top of that, we see very quick reactions from well-known brands like the NBA teams, which decided to offer at least competitive matches in NBA2K when they can’t play the sport itself. Another example can be the Australian Grand Prix, which was cancelled but ultimately resulted in heated esport battle between F1 drivers and other sports stars like Thibaut Courtois – to fill the void, they decided to race in an esport event, and to show the people what esports are about. And if you want to see some more examples, just look at football, where many teams played a game of FIFA20 against each other as the stadiums are on lockdown. And here are some more – Fox Sports network has revealed, that the inaugural eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race on March 22nd drew 903,000 viewers on FS1, making it the highest-rated esports TV program to date. How crazy is that?

Hand in hand with sports is also one industry – the betting industry. With many classic sport events canceled, esports are now a shining beacon of content and product offers. Considering the already fast acceleration of the esports betting market, the whole coronavirus situation can be seen as a sort of “when life gives you lemons, just make a lemonade” moment. Aside from the fact that there is still a huge amount of events to bet on, there are also many new viewers and punters watching very closely to see what esports are about. And what they will see is mainly this – esports are innovative, very dynamic and able to adapt very easily. To make it possible to adapt for sportsbook operators,they need to act now, because very soon, the migration of punters will be done, and they will very quickly realize who has the most comprehensive offer.

eSports

MTG Sells ESL Gaming to Savvy Gaming Group for $1.05 Billion

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Swedish esports and gaming firm MTG has agreed to sell ESL Gaming to Saudi-backed Savvy Gaming Group at an enterprise value of $1.05 billion.

MTG, which owns 91.46% of ESL Gaming, corresponding to $960 million, said it was expecting net proceeds of around $875 million from the deal, including transaction-related costs.

It added that it would return at least 40% of the proceeds to shareholders, while using the rest to strengthen its position in the global gaming market, and continue its “buy and build strategy”.

“Following the transaction, MTG will focus fully on accelerating growth in its pure-play gaming business,” MTG, which has a market cap of around 9.76 billion crowns ($1.05 billion), said in a statement.

MTG, which bought ESL and DreamHack in 2015 and merged them under the name ESL Gaming, has acquired several gaming companies in the past year, including Hutch Games and Ninja Kiwi.

It added that Savvy Group, which is backed by the Saudi Arabian government’s Public Investment Fund, was also buying tech platform FACEIT to merge the two companies into a global gaming platform.

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eSports

HORIZON UNION ENTERS APEX LEGENDS SPACE WITH ACQUISITION OF ESPORTS TEAM

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HORIZON UNION ENTERS APEX LEGENDS SPACE WITH ACQUISITION OF ESPORTS TEAM
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GAMING and content organisation, Horizon Union, has unveiled its entry into APEX Legends through the acquisition of European esports team, Top Dogs.

Competing in the highest level of competitive APEX, the APEX Legends Global Series (ALGS) league, Horizon Union will be represented by players Ruabbe, Mimu and ZeroNothing, who have competed for the likes of G2 Esports, Obey Alliance and ENCE.

Top Dogs, which will now be branded under the name Horizon and powered by UFO Gaming, will be competing in the playoffs of the ALGS on 22 January 2022, after qualifying in the ALGS Split 1  League in December 2021.

Speaking on joining Horizon Union Ruabbe, captain of the Horizon team, said: “Mimu, ZeroNothing and myself have been continuously pushing expectations as a team and are super happy and excited to be joining Horizon Union. Having been given such an opportunity with a leading organisation, we are ready to achieve great things with Horizon throughout 2022.”

The move to APEX further signals Horizon Union’s commitment to entering the esports space following the news of its partnership with decentralised social gaming platform, UFO Gaming, in late 2021. The partnership will see both organisations expand brand affinity in the gaming sphere, with a particular focus on esports.

Will Mollett, co-founder and talent and partnerships lead at Horizon Union, said: “Horizon’s movement into the highest level of APEX is merely a testament to our vision for the brand, with the acquisition of a fantastic EU team, Top Dogs.

“With this spearheading our esports efforts, we could not be happier to be working with a trio of like-minded individuals, hungry for success.”

Kieran Wood, co-founder and operations and commercial lead at Horizon Union, added: “Esports has always been an element of Horizon that we’ve kept close to our heart as the brand scaled. The collective drive to compete at the highest level is a goal that the entire team shares and seeks to achieve with our esports launch.

“Our first steps with Apex Legends is a sign of intent and a nod to what’s to come with Horizon throughout 2022 and we couldn’t be more excited for this venture to begin.”

Founded by Kieran Wood and Will Mollett in 2017, Horizon has grown to house over 35 creators who drive and deliver content via an always-on strategy. Working alongside global brands such as UFO Gaming, GFUEL, Boost Gaming, and ChampionUS, the organisation operates on the core principles of working closely with creators to provide strategic business value, within various verticals in the gaming world.

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WePlay Holding teams up with ISDE to provide an esports educational program

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WePlay Holding teams up with ISDE to provide an esports educational program
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The WePlay Holding esports group entered into a partnership with ISDE Law Business School to offer a new Esports Business ISDE Master’s degree program. To contribute to the training of future esports industry professionals, WePlay Holding will provide its experts to ISDE as guest professors and invite students for unpaid internships.

ISDE Spanish University Center, founded by world-leading law firms, uses a practical methodology to train and teach its students. Adopting a hands-on approach, ISDE invites professionals from various industries and offers internships from the first year.

As experts in the esports sector, WePlay Holding supports the new Esports Business ISDE Master’s degree course within an annual partnership. Besides teaching students the basics of esports, WePlay Holding will invite some of them to join the team for 3–6 months to work on real-life cases.

Esports is much more than an entertainment industry sector — it’s also highly technological. Therefore, to develop the industry further, esports needs professionals who can tell the difference between a traditional publisher’s business model and a mobile one, build a digital strategy, understand the ins and outs of content production, etc. The Esports Business ISDE Master program aims to transmit to students this knowledge, allowing them to contribute to esports after graduation.

“WePlay Holding seizes every opportunity to support the development of esports, especially when it comes to education. We are looking forward to the start of the course and are ready to make every effort to nurture the future aces of the industry,” says Oleh Humeniuk, CEO of the WePlay Holding esports group.
“In esports as any other field, something more than talent and vocation is needed. Training and study are important to stand out. Not any training, not with anyone. You need to be trained by the best with the most appropriate method. ISDE and WePlay Holding are going to provide it, only to those who really want to make out of the esports business their living and turn their Passion into a Career,” shares Alejandro Martín, Head of Admissions Department at ISDE.

The ISDE program isn’t the first educational project for WePlay Holding. In 2021, WePlay Esports, the flagship company of WePlay Holding, jointly with Kyiv National I.K. Karpenko-Kary Theater, Cinema, and Television University, launched the Computer Graphics Film Director course.

Esports education programs channel the fans’ creativity and enthusiasm into a vocation. WePlay Holding prides itself on the opportunity to support initiatives that popularize esports and develop the industry with the help of up-and-coming talents.

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