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Esports fans expected to come out in force to bet on IEM Katowice

George Miller

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Esports fans expected to come out in force to bet on IEM Katowice
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IEM Katowice 2021 is expected to lead to a “significant uptick” in esports betting action this month.

The $1m CS:GO championship, due to start on Tuesday, February 16, is among the standout events of the year and comes after almost 12 months of disruption to the esports calendar.

The event is famed for being held at the Polish city’s iconic Spodek Arena but Covid restrictions mean no fans will be in attendance as teams play online from locations around Europe.

Nevertheless, a flurry of betting action is expected on the event, as 24 of the world’s best CS:GO teams compete for the $400,000 first prize.

Metodi Zaburtov, Director of Sportsbook at Luckbox, said: “CS:GO fans have been starved of action for much of the past 12 months and IEM Katowice has a special place in their hearts.

“Data from previous years shows us that there is a significant uptick in CS:GO betting at this time of year thanks to IEM Katowice. This is largely due to the quality and popularity of the teams involved, the high-profile nature of the event and intense nature of the competition – with so many matches being played over two weeks.

“The fact that the tournament is online is a pity but esports fans have shown a strong willingness to continue to back their favourite teams and try to pick winners in such tournaments throughout the past year. We expect that to be the case even more for IEM Katowice.”

 

A year for the underdogs?

Astralis are outright favourites to win another IEM Katowice title, with odds of 3.10 ahead of Team Vitality at 3.80. Heroic are third favourites at 5.00 while defending champions Na’Vi are available at 5.50.

But fans planning to bet on IEM Katowice, could be wise to keep an eye on the underdogs.

Zaburtov said: “I think it’s worth looking at some teams that have been very strong during warm-up tournaments. Complexity are on fire and available at odds of 23.00, while BIG at 9.5, Virtus.pro (13.25) and Gambit (31.00) look great value. Also, the underachievement of the top two teams – Vitality and Astralis – in recent weeks is hardly great preparation. “We have seen evidence to suggest that online tournaments lead to more shock results, with a noticeable series of outcomes going as predicted by the odds.

“Online matches are more susceptible to technical issues such as latency, which can sometimes prove a leveller – like a football match on a bad pitch. “There is also the fact that players are often in their own homes, as opposed to being cheered on by thousands of fans. This often brings out the best in experienced players, while lower-level players might crumble under the pressure. Perhaps playing online suits smaller teams because there is less pressure.

 

“This could be a good year for the underdogs.”

eSports

Tony Hawk Joins GameSquare as Special Advisor

Niji Narayan

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Tony Hawk Joins GameSquare as Special Advisor
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GameSquare Esports has appointed legendary skateboarder, entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Hawk as a strategic advisor.

Tony Hawk will act as a special advisor to CEO Justin Kenna and the GameSquare group of companies as the Company pursues its mission of bridging the gap between global brands and the large and growing gaming and esports communities.

“Tony is an amazing person that is an iconic brand in his own right. We are humbled that Tony is willing to share his experiences in business, entertainment, sports, video games, and digital media with our leadership team as we grow GameSquare into a leading esports company. We have incredible people with amazing professional experience, and I look forward to working with Tony to accelerate our growth and our progress. In many ways, Tony represents the best of what we do at GameSquare; he is highly sought after by global brands and resonates with an influential group of fans, enthusiasts, and professionals. Tony bridges the gap between brands and fans in an authentic way and has been doing it successfully, and with integrity, for decades,” Justin Kenna, CEO of GameSquare, said.

“GameSquare is an innovator in esports, and I’m already impressed with what Justin and his team are building. Esports and video games are bigger than ever, so it’s paramount for companies to authentically connect great brands with hardcore fans. Throughout my career, I have understood that perseverance, creativity, and self-confidence are critical to success. I believe that Justin is building something special; his vision for GameSquare is inspiring. I look forward to sharing my own experience and my approach to success with the GameSquare team,” Tony Hawk said.

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Asia

Japan’s eSports Market Grew 9% in 2020

Niji Narayan

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Japan’s eSports Market Grew 9% in 2020
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The Japanese esports market grew by 9% in 2020 and is set for even more impressive growth in the coming years, according to figures released by the gaming information firm Famitsu.

Japan’s esports market was valued at JPY6.7 billion (US$61.5 million) last year.

Famitsu also estimated that the number of esports fans—those who served as spectators for the matches—rose by 42% to nearly 6.9 million people.

The projection ahead is for a steeper growth curve, with esports revenues increasing by nearly 30% year-on-year until the middle of the decade.

In 2020, sponsorship fees and advertising expenses accounted for the largest proportion of esports industry revenues, accounting for over 67% of the total. However, broadcast rights are a segment that is showing strong growth.

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eSports

EPOS Becomes Official Audio Partner of Sprout

Niji Narayan

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EPOS Becomes Official Audio Partner of Sprout
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EPOS has become the Official Audio Partner of the German esports organisation Sprout. As per the deal, EPOS will provide headsets and other audio equipment to Sprout’s players.

“With EPOS we have the perfect partner to meet the auditory demands of a professional esports team. We want to offer our players the best possible solution to utilize their full potential. Now we can support this with innovative products,” Sven Thomas, Executive Manager of Sprout, said.

“We are thrilled to join forces with Sprout as Official Audio Partner. In throwing the full weight of our exceptional engineering, technology and product portfolio behind the team, EPOS will elevate Sprout to the next level of competitive gameplay, through total immersion and unrivalled accuracy in audio and communications. We look forward to joining Sprout as they build on the incredible success so far,” Steven Smith, EPOS’ VP of Global Sales, Gaming, said.

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