By Ron Mendelson, Fast OffShore

What’s driving eSports and fantasy sports?

Ron Mendelson is the Director of Costa-Rica based International Business & Corporate Services consultancy firm, Fast Offshore. With over 24 years of real-world experience in iGaming Licensing and Payments, Regulatory Compliance, Tax-Efficient Corporate Structuring, Incubator and other Hedge Fund Licenses, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency related services, he advises a number of international clients on their business needs in the Americas, Europe, and beyond.

Reading time 3:11 min

Are you an online gambling entrepreneur or looking to set up a new platform? Then you will likely have heard of eSports and fantasy sports. But what are they, and what do they mean for the future of the iGaming sector? In his latest column for YogonetiGaming industry consultant Ron Mendelson answers this thoroughly.

What is eSports?

eSports is short for electronic sports, and it refers to competitive tournaments between video gamers. For example, organized multiplayer video game competitions between professional players with games such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Overwatch, and Dota, to name a few. Over the years, this form of competitive video gaming has grown in popularity to the point that people like to bet on the outcomes. Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, eSports stepped in for sports betting fans, providing them with an opportunity to bet on competitive sports while most regular sports games were canceled. Since then, it has continued its evolution into a multi-billion dollar industry with some of the biggest names in online gambling offering bets on eSports tournaments.

What are fantasy sports?

Less commonly known as rotisserie or roto, fantasy sports are where players create their own virtual sports teams composed of real players of a particular sport such as football. These teams then compete using the actual statistics of their performance in real games. How each individual performs is changed into points that the fantasy team manager then totals. Fantasy sports betting is getting increasingly popular as players want to win money based on their imaginary team's performance. Again, the sector enjoyed a boost during the pandemic as not all games were available for regular bets. In 2022, the industry has legions of fans and is becoming a highly sought-after form of betting across all jurisdictions.

The eSports market

At the end of 2021, the global eSports sector was worth over $2 billion and was predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of almost 30% before 2030. This is driven partly by the increase in game live streaming, significant investment, bigger audience reach, and more consumer engagement. In addition, changes in the infrastructure of how tournaments are organized and distributed are also positively impacting the sector. The sector's growth has resulted in other positives, such as more chances for players to become professionals or influencers and the proliferation of game organizers and game developers. This, in turn, further enhances eSports and makes it more attractive for betting.

But in addition to gaming and betting, other areas of eSports are generating good streams of revenue. For example, the sponsorship segment has a market share of over 40%. It allows brands to reach out to their customers both online and offline through booths, interactive advertising, video displays, freebies and merch, posters, and more.

The sector is particularly appealing to millennials, while some colleges and universities offer courses in eSports-related topics, leading to further industry development. 

The fantasy sports market

According to recently published data, the fantasy sports market is set to grow at around 14% between the end of this year and 2026. This is driven by an increase in digitalization as more and more people are connected to the broader world via digital means. Within this, the increased use of smartphones and easier access to lower-cost, higher-quality models have made it easier for people to partake in fantasy sports. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic is still impacting the market as it brought millions of new players, many of whom have stuck around even after things returned to semi-normalcy. Fantasy sports became a popular way for people to entertain themselves during lockdowns.

This positive growth is further impacted by technological advances such as blockchain and analytics, but also increasing sporting events, the development of new platforms, and the rise of female participation.

The global fantasy football sector is set to exceed $1 billion by 2026, with 70% following North American contests. This signals the potential to move into other sports in other areas, thus increasing reach and revenue streams. For example, soccer is more prevalent in Europe but also in Latin America and Asia. For now, the sector is predominantly male-orientated, but female users are expected to rise. Women will not take over male players any time soon, but there is plenty of development to be made in this sector.

For over 25 years, Fast Offshore has been working in the online gambling sector. As such, we are well-versed in all aspects of the industry and are ideally placed to help you get set up. We can care for all incorporating and licensing needs, payments, compliance, and ongoing maintenance. In addition, we are experienced in eSports and fantasy sports and can help you integrate these offerings into your platforms. Contact our friendly and knowledgeable team today for custom build or turnkey solutions from professionals!

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