Web Summit, the largest tech event in the world brings together business leaders, celebrities, politicians and scientists in Lisbon, Portugal, to discuss and debate emerging technology trends.
Parimatch’s very own CEO Sergey Portnov spoke onstage at this year’s Summit alongside Bruce Stein, CEO of aXiomatic, an esports and video game investment business, and the Associated Press’ Global Sports Correspondent Rob Harris, where amongst other things they discussed the risks and rewards of the esports industry.
When it comes to the marketing and sponsorship of esports, the industry is still in its infancy, with bookmakers like Parimatch being the first brands to recognize the opportunities and rewards in esports team sponsorship. Soon enough big brands like Nike and Coca-Cola will come along with even bigger marketing budgets, and make esports sponsorship more expensive. Until then, bookmakers are happy to be driving revenue in the esports industry. But it isn’t just about giving money to have your logo on a team’s shirt. According to Portnov:
“It is important to build a culture of esports fans if your company is sponsoring a team. You have to be truthful and build a love of sports into the business.”
When it comes to the risks associated with esports, like most traditional sports, it is vulnerable to match-fixing.
“The risk depends on the event,” says Portnov. “Dota International is less likely to be fixed, as so much is at stake, it is much more likely to be seen in lower league tournaments. But Parimatch doesn’t really see this as too much of a problem, because most esports bets ree for small amounts – the average is $5, on a mobile device. Of course, there are fraudsters out there, but it is much more worrying when somebody bets $100,000 on a soccer game, we would rather take lots of smaller bets on esports.”
With 2.5 gamers on the planet, playing everything from FIFA to Fortnite to Counter-Strike, either recreationally or competitively, there is no denying that esports is big business. One thing is for sure, the popularity of esports is only going to grow, and with that so do the risk and rewards for brands putting their name to the burgeoning industry.