We’re just a few weeks into the year and already there is plenty of movement happening in the eSports space. Last week saw huge brand investment, league creations, technology partnerships and more. Take a quick look at the big news from the week along with a little extra something from me at the end...
Dutch football league starts new eSports competition
Eredivisie, the Dutch Premier League, is launching a new Fifa league: the E-Divisie. All 18 clubs within the Eredivisie league will be represented virtually as their official eSports player will compete for them on Fifa 17 Ultimate Team. At the start of the season, all 18 clubs recruited their own player and now its time for them to prove themselves. The partnership between Eredivisie, EA Sports & Endemol Shine Nederland will drive fan engagement, build better relationships with a younger audience and see exciting content being created. It’s all kicking off on Monday 6 February.
VR partnership created for viewers
Traditional sports broadcasters are always looking for ways to update and improve how we watch; this is no different for eSports. SIiver.tv is one of the industries leading virtual reality eSports broadcasting platforms and last week it signed a new partnership with gaming league ESL. Fans will be able to tune in and watch Dota2, League of Legends and CS:GO in immersive 360-degree VR across multiple events planned for this year. Using Google cardboard, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and more, you can experience the action at home in VR, but the partnership also extends Sliver.tv access to the events to showcase their technology with the live audience.
Fnatic return to Call of Duty
Over the weekend one of the world’s biggest eSports organisations, Fnatic, announced they are returning to the Call of Duty scene with a new roster ready to get going for the 2017 season. FNATIC left the Call of Duty pro scene five years ago, but has grown to become one of the most recognisable eSports brands across other major game titles including League of Legends and Counter Strike. It’s a good move for FNATIC, while the prize pools aren’t as big as other eSports events, it’s a chance to widen its brand appeal and reach a new audience of Call of Duty fans who maybe weren’t aware FNATIC once had a pro COD team (I didn’t!)
Audi drives up eSports investment
One of the world’s largest car manufacturers, Audi, has just signed a new sponsorship deal with eSports team Astralis. While you might not know the likes of their professional roster, dev1ce, gla1ve, & dupreeh to name just three, their current CS:GO team is currently one of the best in the world, lined up to win the next major event starting this Sunday. The details of the sponsorship haven’t been shared; however during a media shoot yesterday the team official jersey now displays the recognisable 4-ring logo of Audi. I’m sure we’ll see more than just a bit of t-shirt branding come out of this partnership in the long run, but it falls just in time for the ELeague CS:GO major in Atlanta this week as the team will play in-front of millions of viewers over the competition period. (Jan 22nd-29th)
Liam meets ELeague and Bet365
Speaking of the ELeague major… Just before Christmas I discovered that Bet365 had opened an eSports section! Covering events all around the world, you can now make bets on eSports matches, handicaps, scores etc just like your typical sports. I’m no gambling expert but decided to try my luck at mixing casual betting with intense eSports competition. So far across two event weekends I’ve somehow managed to return over 6x my own investment, and with the ELeague major coming up you can bet I’ll be giving it another go…
But how does one bet on something as unpredictable as eSports? Here’s three simple tips I’ve used and can help you get to grips with this interesting mechanic.
1. Listen to the casters/analysts
Before a match begins the analyst desk go over statistics, previous match-ups and also predictions after introducing both teams. Whilst I’ll know who’s likely to win the odd match-up, the analysts are the best to know for every team and I’ve even changed my bet based on their predications, and it sometimes pays off. Some teams are known to play better on certain maps; the analysts know this and can give you key information to help make the right choice.
2. Cash out!
The interesting thing with CS:GO betting is you can cash out quite frequently between rounds. Without jumping too deep on how CS:GO plays, a competitive match consists of a best of 30 rounds – Terrorist & Counter Terrorist sides, with most games usually considered to be “CT Sided” as you play on defence. During a game, if your team is winning say, 10-2 on a certain side, Bet365 will offer you a decent return to cash out early! Which is a good route to take as some games can go on crazy comebacks and you can end up losing (Thank you Team LDLC for making an unexpected 12 round comeback against me!)
3. Watch the match
I like eSports (if you couldn’t tell!), when it’s a game I understand and can relate to there is a thrill of watching the best teams perform just as you might with football, rugby or even tennis. Betting adds that little extra something, and for me it makes me pay more attention. I can appreciate a good play, understand why a team made a certain decision and get left hanging on the edge of my seat when it comes down to the finals rounds. I’m not addicted, my starting bet is actually quite low and really it’s all just a bit of fun while I enjoy something I’d be watching anyway.
If you want to watch the moment that saved me from losing £150 then you can here: Flipsid3 vs Vega Squadron. I had money on team Flipsid3 winning this match, and with the score being tied 14-14 in the best of 30 match, this round was crucial and luckily played in my favour – It even had my brother, who had no money on the line watching and gasping at every moment.
Liam Thompson is a gaming and influencer exec at HSE Cake. He is a well-known gamer and tweets @LiamTWiiN