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VanEck Launches ESPO, ETF Focused on Fast Growing Video Game and eSports Industry

George Miller

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VanEck Launches ESPO, ETF Focused on Fast Growing Video Game and eSports Industry
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

VanEck announced the launch of the VanEck Vectors® Video Gaming and eSports ETF (NYSE Arca: ESPO).

“Just a few years ago, talk of sold out stadiums, viewership in the millions, high-profile sponsors, and notable marketing arrangements would have been centered on football, baseball, basketball or hockey. But today, that talk can just as easily be applied to the world of video games and eSports,” said Ed Lopez, Head of ETF product at VanEck. “This is the future of sports and a growth story that is global in scope.”

The video game market is undergoing a period of transformative growth, added Lopez, and is predicted to generate close to $140 billion in revenue in 2018, an increase of more than 13 percent from 2017. It’s not just that people are playing more video games on more platforms; one of the driving factors of growth for the industry has been the emergence of professional video gaming, or eSports. We anticipate that established video game companies are set to benefit the most with the rise of eSports, through partnerships, league ownership, sponsorships, franchising, and other marketing arrangements.

“eSports have brought video games out of the rec room and into the stadiums,” continued Lopez. eSports has become one of the largest spectator sports in the world with games streamed online or on major broadcast outlets like ESPN and at live gaming events held in stadiums. For example, the League of Legends world finals in 2017 attracted more viewers than the MLB World Series, the NBA finals, and the NHL Stanley Cup finals. In 2018, the global eSports audience is expected to reach 380 million people.

“The video game industry is disrupting traditional media and entertainment,” said Lopez, “and with a young and highly engaged demographic, ESPO provides investors access to what we believe can be a long-term growth story.”

ESPO seeks to track, before fees and expenses, the performance of the MVIS® Global Video Gaming and eSports Index (MVESPO). The index is a rules-based, modified capitalization weighted, float adjusted index intended to give investors a means of tracking the overall performance of companies involved in video gaming and eSports. This may include companies developing video games and related software, streaming services, and/or those involved in eSports events. To be included in the index, companies must generate at least 50% of their revenues from video gaming or eSports. This allows ESPO to have the highest concentration, among U.S.-listed ETFs, of pure play names participating in this fast-growing space.

ESPO has a gross expense ratio of 0.60% and a net expense ratio of 0.55%, which is capped contractually until [February 1, 2020.]

ESPO joins VanEck’s suite of industry-focused equity ETFs, which also includes the VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH®), VanEck Vectors Biotech ETF (BBH®), VanEck Vectors Environmental Services ETF (EVX®), VanEck Vectors Generic Drugs ETF (GNRX), VanEck Vectors Pharmaceutical ETF (PPH®), VanEck Vectors Retail ETF (RTH®), and VanEck Vectors Gaming ETF (BJK®).

 

About VanEck

VanEck has a history of looking beyond the financial markets to identify trends that are likely to create impactful investment opportunities. We were one of the first U.S. asset managers to offer investors access to international markets. This set the tone for the firm’s drive to identify asset classes and trends – including gold investing in 1968, emerging markets in 1993, and exchange traded funds in 2006 – that subsequently shaped the investment management industry.

Today, VanEck offers active and passive strategies with compelling exposures supported by well-designed investment processes. As of September 30, 2018, VanEck managed approximately $46.1 billion in assets, including mutual funds, ETFs, and institutional accounts. The firm’s capabilities range from core investment opportunities to more specialized exposures to enhance portfolio diversification. Our actively managed strategies are fueled by in-depth, bottom-up research and security selection from portfolio managers with direct experience in the sectors and regions in which they invest. Investability, liquidity, diversity, and transparency are key to the experienced decision-making around market and index selection underlying VanEck’s passive strategies.

Since our founding in 1955, putting our clients’ interests first, in all market environments, has been at the heart of the firm’s mission.

 

eSports

A Portrait of the Typical Esports Bettor, by LOOT.BET

George Miller

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A Portrait of the Typical Esports Bettor, by LOOT.BET
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Who exactly is the typical esports bettor? Do they also bet on traditional sports or gamble at online casinos? What kind of work do they do and what interests do they have? How much and how often do they bet? To succeed in the esports betting industry, it’s crucial to understand esports bettors, so specialist esports bookmaker LOOT.BET has put together a portrait of the typical esports bettor, based on extensive research. 

Esports bettors are young, career driven, and single

Like the esports audience in general, esports bettors tend to be young. The vast majority, some 78% of LOOT.BET’s users, are aged 18-25, while 16% are 26-30, just 5% are 31-40, and a mere 1% are 41 or older. Curiously, bettors from Western countries tend to be a little older, at an average age of 24, than the CIS where the average is just 21.

In terms of occupation, the typical esports bettor from the West tends to be a novice specialist or a junior manager, while the average esports bettor in the CIS region is a university student. In both cases, they are unmarried and have no children.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of esports bettors are male – making up some 95% in 2018. However, it is possible that things are starting to change, with females growing from 5% in 2018 to 6% in 2019.

Esports bettors have little interest in traditional gambling

According to LOOT.BET’s research, 64% of esports punters bet exclusively on esports, and 67% are open to betting on more than one esports discipline. However, only 24% of esports bettors occasionally wagered on major sporting events, and just 12% bet on traditional sports systematically.

Also, esports bettors, being younger, are far less likely to gamble at online casinos than traditional sports punters – who tend to be significantly older. Illustrating this, as little as 3% of esports bettors regularly try their luck at online casinos, and only 20% even enjoy an occasional gamble. The vast majority, some 77%, say they are not interested in such kind of gambling at all.

Esports bettors are clued up, engaged, and passionate

Esports bettors are very clued up, with almost all of them following industry news. 54% use dedicated news sites and forums, 42% prefer social media, but just 4% don’t feel the urge to keep abreast of esports events and updates.

In terms of lifestyle and interests, typical esports punters are very engaged with non-esports video games, regularly follow various streams, and love cosplay. They are also very switched on to video and music content, tend to follow sports (especially football), and are often techno-geeks with a passion for travel and social media.

Discussing the findings, Paul Brel, Head of Communications at Livestream, LOOT.BET’s operating company, explained:

“The difference between esports bettors and traditional bookmakers’ clients is huge, and the matter is not just – and not even so much – in the age gap which in itself implies certain distinctions.

“Esports fans breathe cutting-edge technologies; they are very mobile, yet so involved with the community; they are more likely to rely on their knowledge and skills rather than on luck; for them, esports is not just a hobby but a lifestyle – which you wouldn’t say about a regular classic sports bettor. We believe that only those operators who understand this and try to find an approach to this specific audience, which is very new to the betting industry, have a chance to succeed in the esports betting market.”

Esports bettors love live and love mobile

In terms of esports betting trends, LOOT.BET is seeing the rapid growth of live betting and the continued migration from desktop to mobile devices. To give a sense of the shift, over the course of 2019 the share of live bets jumped from 52% to 75%, while mobile traffic rocketed from 50% to nearly 70%.

Esports bettors are spending more money, more often

Another clear trend is esports punters betting more money, and betting more frequently. In 2019 the average number of bets per user, per month, across all disciplines increased by 11%. The title seeing the biggest increase, at 15%, was Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, while the other games from the “big three”, League of Legends and Dota 2, registered increases of 10% and 6% respectively. Bet size over the year increased even more dramatically – 20% across all disciplines, breaking down to 24% for League of Legends, 22% for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and 15% for Dota 2.

“We associate the simultaneous rise in the frequency and size of bets with several factors. Firstly, esports betting is becoming a key hobby, on which one is ready to spend significant money, for more and more people. Secondly, the esports audience’s trust in betting is increasing, and so is their willingness to risk larger sums.

“And naturally, the rise is determined by the extension of the noteworthy matches pool and development of betting lines – which refers to the whole esports betting industry. There is a bold assumption that in 10-20 years, esports will catch-up with classic sports by volumes of bets, and, considering the foregoing as well as the fast esports audience expansion, we treat this forecast as an eligible one”, commented Paul Brel.

The research is based on LOOT.BET’s internal statistics and an email poll of customers.

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eSports

Five Formula 1 drivers confirmed for second Virtual Grand Prix

George Miller

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Five Formula 1 drivers confirmed for second Virtual Grand Prix
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Current Formula 1 drivers Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, George Russell, Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi have all confirmed their participation for the second instalment of the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix this weekend.

The F1 quintet will be joined by former driver Johnny Herbert, who finished 13th in the inaugural race in Bahrain, as well as a host of other stars including England’s Cricket World Cup Winner, BBC Sports Personality of the Year and Red Bull Athlete Ben Stokes, with more names set to be announced in the coming days.

This weekend’s virtual Grand Prix is the second race in the new F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series, which gives fans the chance to watch Formula 1 races virtually, despite the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

This weekend’s Grand Prix will take place on the Albert Park track, traditionally used for the Australian Grand Prix, on the weekend originally scheduled for Hanoi’s inaugural Street Circuit race in Vietnam. The Vietnam circuit is currently not available on the 2019 official F1 video game so drivers will show off their skills on the Albert Park circuit. Drivers will join the race remotely, with a host broadcast live from the Gfinity Esports Arena from 8:00pm (BST) on Sunday April 5.

The broadcast which will be available on the official Formula 1 YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels, is expected to run for 1 hour 30 minutes, with a qualifying period where grid positions will be determined based on the drivers’ fastest lap time, followed by a 28-lap race. The Virtual Grand Prix will also be broadcast live with international broadcast partners including in the UK on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event.

Due to the wide variety of gaming skill levels amongst the drivers, game settings will be configured in such a way to encourage competitive and entertaining racing. This includes running equal car performance with fixed setups, reduced vehicle damage, and optional anti-lock brakes and traction control for those less familiar with the game.

After the virtual Vietnam Grand Prix is over, a special F1 Esports Pro Exhibition race featuring esports gamers will follow from 9:30pm (BST). The broadcast will be available on the official Formula 1 YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels as well as selected TV broadcasters and is expected to run for 1 hour.

Julian Tan, Head of Digital Business Initiatives and Esports said: “Following the massive success of the F1 Esports Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix, we are thrilled to be able to come back online again this weekend to provide fans with some racing action. A star-studded grid is shaping up with our F1 stars – past, present and future – as well as huge names in sports and entertainment. We look forward to providing some light relief through esports as we all navigate through these difficult times together, where our fans can engage with our sport in a different but familiar way.”

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eSports

BETBY Adds Huge Esports Portfolio To Offering

George Miller

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BETBY Adds Huge Esports Portfolio To Offering
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

Progressive sportsbook supplier BETBY significantly expanded its offering with the addition of more than 1,000 live daily esports events.

As uncertainty grows in the global sports betting community due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, BETBY has swiftly adjusted its content portfolio to include FIFA esports fixtures, CS:GO tournaments, and one of the widest CyberSport packages in the industry.

Among the competitions available is FIFA18 24/7, the first in the BETBY Games collection. Unique to the supplier’s offering, the competition will see a number of markets created solely for that title.

All of the above betting markets will be available in tandem with BETBY’s proven Risk Management Intelligence system and customisable front-end product, allowing operator partners to give a truly unique product to their customers.

The entire BETBY esports portfolio can be integrated and active for an operator within 24 hours with the supplier’s highly agile fully-managed sportsbook platform.

Leonid Pertsovskiy, CEO at BETBY said: “We are thrilled to be releasing our significantly enhanced esports offering, covering a wide range of markets across a number of different contests.

“It is a difficult time for the industry at the moment, and it was important to us to be able to offer our operator partners alternative content that can be live and customer-ready in an incredibly quick time.

“We strive to be an innovative and customer-focused business and whilst the current time presents challenges for everyone, we will always look for solutions to our partners problems.”

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