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Exclusive Q&A with Alex Shybanov, Senior Sales Manager for CEE Region/PandaScore

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Exclusive Q&A with Alex Shybanov, Senior Sales Manager for CEE Region/PandaScore
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

What is the difference between PandaScore and big suppliers? 

The biggest difference is that we’re solely focused on esports whereas a lot of the bigger suppliers concentrated on traditional sports. For PandaScore esports is the only priority. We’re also fast and agile – we can implement new products and features incredibly quickly allowing our partners to leverage the fast-growing nature of the sector.

Another major difference is the data-led approach we take. We combine this with AI, our own trading models and a team of highly skilled traders which allows us to present one of the best esports betting products in the market.

Our trading models are worth highlighting as this is what really sets us apart. They’re fully automated and cover all of the sports that we have. In comparison, most of the big suppliers are still using manual or semi-manual models.

Finally, the number of markets we offer and our uptime (the percentage of time that lines are open and available for players to place bets) is unrivalled. We are also open to feedback and regularly work with our partners to implement new tools and features.

This enables us to satisfy their individual needs and continually improve performance, something that the big providers cannot offer especially if esports is not considered a priority for them.

 

What do you have to say about the esports market in Central & Eastern Europe?

It is fast-growing, for sure, and is really well developed when compared with other European regions and markets like the UK. In fact, across CEE esports is often among the top five bets on sports in terms of revenues and turnover.

What is driving this? Several factors but in particular there are some really strong teams that are based out of CEE countries. This includes Na’Vi (CS:GO) and Team Spirit (Dota 2) – 2021 TI champions. This has helped to elevate the popularity of esports across the region.

To bet on esports, you really have to play esports and CEE is a big market in terms of the number of players that play video games. This in turn helps to drive esports engagement and betting on esports as there is a larger pool of consumers that understand how it all works.

What is interesting is the popularity of certain games in CEE, which differs from other European markets. CS:GO is by far the most popular game to play, with Dota 2 number two across the market. But globally, League of Legends is the most popular.

 

Why is your trading solution specifically suited for the CEE market?

There are several key reasons why PandaScore is perfectly suited for operators targeting the CEE market. The first is our local coverage; we offer odds and markets on all local tournaments across the region including in Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia.

Next, our data-driven approach and unique models allows us to achieve the best uptime. For CS:GO uptime levels are in excess of 90% and with Dota 2 it is 75%. This is between 20-25% more than our rivals which means our partners can offer their players more betting opportunities.

This is achieved via our automated models and not having to change the lines manually. With players able to bet 25% more during the game, this is a major value driver for operators. This is only set to become more significant with the continued growth of live esports betting.

Finally, we have comprehensive margin management, and this is important for operators targeting the region because esports bettors are sophisticated. They are not recreational players and have a deep understanding of how games work and the betting options available to them.

Our partners can set different margins across a range of factors such as pre-match, live, games, markets, and more.

This allows them to maximise their margin but also run promotions around particular games and markets, lowering the odds to make them more attractive on a specific game and then setting a higher margin on second and third-tier games to balance this off. 

 

How do you balance this approach for your partner operators, who may have different needs?

Our trading dashboard has been designed to put the power in an operator’s hands. Their traders can manage everything from booking (such as by game, tournament tier, automated) to margin management (possibility to set different margins for different games, markets, tournaments) and more.We have many different markets, especially for live betting. For CS:GO, for instance, we have 60 pre-match markets and 24 live markets.

As an example, we have recently rolled out player markets for total kills over/under. This allows operators to increase revenues by offering markets on specific players and teams that are popular in that region or market. And it’s becoming more and more popular.

 

What are PandaScore’s goals for 2022 and esports?

Esports will continue on its rapid growth trajectory. It is already in the top five sports in some markets and I believe this will become the case in more and more regions in 2022. Offline tournaments are also returning which will be a further catalyst for growth.

Regarding PandaScore, we will continue to increase the scale and scope of our coverage and particularly when it comes to local coverage. This will be driven in part by cooperating with local tournaments and securing additional data partnerships.

We will keep building out our market and product offerings – player markets have launched with CS:GO but we plan to extend this to other games such as Dota 2. We are also working on offering multiples for specific games with a bet builder feature also in the works.

2022 is set to be another breakthrough year for esports and esports betting, and as always PandaScore will be at the cutting edge of this incredible sector.

Australia

Massive News for the Esports Industry with Potential Inclusion in the Commonwealth Games

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Esports is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and there’s no limit to how big it could become. It’s already breached a valuation of $1 billion, and it’s expected to grow to $13.05 billion by 2025.

One of the greatest indicators that competitive gaming is going mainstream is the fact that it has been recognised by the Commonwealth Games. Indeed, it is expected to be included when the event takes place in Victoria in 2026.

Test Run Has Already Taken Place

A few years ago, the thought of seeing Esports at the Commonwealth Games would have been laughable. Now, it is a realistic prospect. It was recently reported that a dry run of the Commonwealth Esports Championships was held in Birmingham, England, at the 2022 Commonwealth Games to see if this type of competitive action could be included as an official event in 2026. It went well and garnered positive feedback from the people involved.

The Victoria edition of the Commonwealth Games is set to take place in 2026, with 16 sports already confirmed. However, the organisers are hoping to add more to the schedule with Esports being strongly considered. Competitive gaming has proven to be a popular spectator sport, with more people tuning in to watch it every year. By 2026, there could be close to a billion people watching Esports, meaning that it would be a popular inclusion at a major event.

Esports has been referred to as the “new sporting frontier,” and it wouldn’t be surprising to see it gaining even more credibility in the next decade. Even the world’s biggest traditional sports had to start somewhere. Football and cricket are now well-established and loved the world over, and there’s nothing stopping Esports from following a similar trajectory.

How Will This Affect Related Industries?

With the Commonwealth Games set to take place in Australia next time, the country could be in a prime position to capitalise on the inclusion of Esports. Part of the success of competitive gaming up to this point has been thanks to related industries pushing it, along with big name companies striking sponsorship deals. Australian companies, therefore, will most certainly seek to capitalise in 2026.

The betting industry was built around traditional sports, and it is now a behemoth industry around the world. In Australia, online betting is so popular that there are countless sites vying for bettors’ attention. Indeed, there are so many to sift through that people turn to comparison sites that list the best ones based on their offers and ratings. Bettors simply scroll through and then click a link to be taken directly to a site.

Many of these online sportsbooks are already offering eSports betting, and the number of markets available is only set to rise in the future. When the Commonwealth Games rolls around, betting sites could benefit from special offers. They may also start to have a greater focus on Esports, thus drawing more attention to the competitive gaming industry.

Esports at the Commonwealth Games isn’t just huge news for the industry itself, but it’s a great move for related industries. Australian companies are set to benefit in 2026, with the betting industry being in a particularly strong position to take advantage.

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eSports

Nigma Galaxy female CS:GO Champions: New docu-series follows rise to becoming champions

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Nigma Galaxy female CS:GO Champions: New docu-series follows rise to becoming champions
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This Sunday 14th, Nigma Galaxy is set to release the first episode of their new docu-series, Jiggy Biggy Best: A CS:GO Story, which follows their hugely successful female CS:GO team and their journey to becoming champions at two major tournaments this year.

The first instalment of the series will be launching on Nigma Galaxy’s YouTube channel at 1pm CEST on Sunday. You can find more information below, in case the team’s story would be of interest to your editorial plan:

  • Fans will get a behind the scene glimpse into the female Nigma Galaxy CS:GO team preparing for two of the biggest tournaments of their careers – ESL Impact League Season 1 in Dallas to the stand-alone ESL Impact tournament in Valencia
  • The docu-series also offers an exclusive peek into the teams journey to the top – their training regime, team cohesion and a deeper dive into the world of female esports
  • Uncover the dedication and support Nigma Galaxy have placed on the competitive female esports scene, one of the fastest-growing sub-genres in the industry
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Asia

Mobile Global Esports announces exclusive compression technology partnership for upcoming Indian esports social-gaming platform

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Mobile Global Esports Inc. (NASDAQ:MGAM)  the mobile esports and social platform company that holds trademark and IP rights for collegiate esports tournaments and players in India, today detailed a joint product development partnership featuring EVE encoding, a proprietary compression technology that reduces video file size by as much as 65% compared to other commercially available products.

“Esports is growing at a phenomenal rate in India, so everything we can do to maximize the current mobile infrastructure for our upcoming tournament season matters,” said Mobile Global Esports CEO David Pross. “We believe EVE compression removes major obstacles in the market and will position us to deliver a great user experience to esports viewers and to tournaments and gamers, with real potential to scale.”

“MOGO is an incredible use case for EVE and all of our video capabilities,” said Anthony Rennert, CTO of ZuCasa and creator of EVE. The fact that this partnership is for the Indian market, where we have great experience, is even better.” EVEMETA and ZuCasa are software companies that focus on video delivery and engagement, respectively. Anthony previously led Howard Stern’s digital team and has worked with or acted as a consultant to Cogent, Time Warner, China Telecom, Qwest, TATA as well as many others.

“With Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio acquiring significant swaths of 5G bandwidth in the recent auctions, India’s top telcos are banking on esports to drive acceptance of their new 5G offerings,” said Sunny Bhandarkar, Mobile Global Esports vice president, India. “While 5G will offer the faster speeds and low latency competitive gamers demand, its short transmission range and limited availability make our EVE compression across the board more valuable for both future 5G and current 4G esports competitors and viewers.”

A 2022 FICCI EY Media and Entertainment Report estimates that active e-sports players in India had a 2X increase to 600,000 in 2021 over 2020, and that there are now over 100,000 e-sports teams, with viewership up from 600,000 hours in 2020 to just under 2 million hours in 2021.

The EVE Network Engine Optimizer (NEO) reduces the bandwidth needed to transmit high quality video by more than half, benefiting network operations, content distribution and content ownership. By effectively multiplying the capacity on existing infrastructure and lowering costs throughout the workflow, EVE increases throughput efficiency and quality of video to dramatically improve distribution performance.

EVE is codec agnostic and all decoding is based on international standards, with resultant files or streams playable in any browser or video player that supports standard codecs. There are no B frames, providing faster decoding, minimizing battery use and expediting rendering. EVE is easily integrated into streaming delivery using the EVE Console or using REST based APIs that can be inserted directly into existing workflows. Data sharing and storage is maximized via cloud, locally or hybrid with full redundancy, providing a cost-efficient storage model while reducing the expenses associated with self-hosted storage solutions. EVE also supports OAuth 2.0 authentication enabling data sharing without sharing passwords.

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