Since the turn of the millennium, esports has reached new-found levels of popularity across the globe. The form of competitive gaming has taken the world by storm in becoming a $1-billion industry. While open-world titles and strategic creations, such as Dota 2 and League of Legends, have long spearheaded the industry’s rise, they’ve created the foundations for sports-themed titles to establish themselves within the market.
Moreover, the popularity of the above games has enabled the industry to diversify its offerings, including branching out into esports betting. This spectator-inclusive revolution has seen digital football variants embrace one of the real-world activity’s most popular pastimes. So, let’s take a look at how football clubs and esports betting platforms have grown the competitive gaming industry.
An Array of Teams with an Esports Division
According to statistics from Twitch, the world’s leading live-streaming platform for video games, FIFA 21 has recorded impressive viewership totals following its release. After hitting the market on October 5th, 2020, the title has thus far registered average spectator figures across a seven-day period of 63,474, as per TwitchTracker. Although this doesn’t have a direct bearing on the game’s competitive popularity, it does showcase that the latest release in the soccer franchise’s series is an attractive option among the gaming community. That said, according to a report by Forbes, the 2020 FIFA esports World Cup saw increased levels of engagement, thus showcasing FIFA’s upwards trajectory.
Primarily, the title’s competitive growth somewhat owes itself to the manner in which professional clubs have accepted soccer’s digital status. The EarlyGame reports that some of the world’s biggest teams have created their own esports division. In recent years, AS Roma has embraced FIFA on a competitive level. To illustrate their seriousness to become a leading figure in the industry, the Yellow and Reds teamed up with Fnatic in 2017. To date, Fnatic are the most successful esports brand of the past decade. As such, this partnership is a testament to the role that top-level clubs are now playing in driving the soccer genre to new heights.
Away from FIFA, Bayern Munich’s relationship with Pro Evolution Soccer has seen the German champions host their own PSS esports Cup. The decision to venture into the competitive gaming industry in 2019 was the first time that Die Roten had done so, with the club’s former president, Uli Hoeness, describing the move as “important and necessary”.
Esports Betting is Making the Sector Reminiscent of Real-World Soccer
As mentioned above, betting has long been a popular pastime in relation to professional soccer. Because of its attraction, the very essence of the market has transitioned into competitive gaming. One of the reasons behind this revolves around a widespread effort to maximize spectator immersion and interactivity on a digital level.
Now, esports betting has come to the forefront and is available across an array of operators, including Royal Panda. The website hosts numerous esports betting markets, including those covering E-Football. As such, fans of the industry can find the latest odds on various events, such as the digital Premier League. Furthermore, the gaming-inspired sector also covers non-sporting titles, like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Valorant.
It’s a testament to the recent growth of esports betting that the sector is forecast to record revenues of $865 million by 2024, as per iGaming Business. As such, this progression will see the market’s global betting gross gaming revenue percentage double to 3.2 percent.
Powerful Entities and Betting Markets Behind Soccer Esports
In the coming years, it will be troublesome for FIFA or PES to become a top-three esports title. That said, with the backing of world-renowned clubs, anything is possible. As evident from Bayern’s introduction into the market, increasing numbers of teams now see having an esports presence as a necessity. Because of that, the genre could unquestionably go from strength to strength throughout the next decade.