In esports, data is the lifeblood of any good probabilities service. And according to Anton Janér, CTO and Founder at Abios, data is also a key driving force behind a standout bettor experience.
Speaking to SBC News, Janér drew attention to the differences between esports and traditional sports, highlighting the importance of data as a particular driver of growth.
SBC: For those that might not know, can you tell us a bit about Abios?
AJ: Founded in 2013, Abios is the first esports data provider in the world. We distribute data, data visualisations and probabilities to customers around the globe. Our customers range from sportsbooks to large search engines, esports teams and leading market analytics firms.
The reason we’ve been successful in esports is our love for games and passion for creating products that will push the envelope of the industry forward. Our mission has always been to enable the growth of the esports industry, and we have done so by creating data solutions upon which other businesses can thrive.
Now, being acquired by Kambi, we’re accelerating the expansion of our odds product and look forward to the current developments of the esports betting field.
SBC: How can the increasing demand for digital games motivate sportsbook operators to enhance their odds products? And how is Abios helping its partners to do this?
AJ: Esports viewership have seen growth year-over-year, paired with an increasing amount of high-tier tournaments, titles and prize pools. This has sparked the interest of sportsbooks as it has become a staple in the offering of many operators.
What several industry stakeholders fail to recognise is that esports is a different entity to sports. In marketing and sales, one of the core principles is to know your customer and the audience you’re targeting. Sportsbooks are experts in knowing what the sports betting audience wants, consequently delivering the same experience to esports fans. However, esports fans are largely different.
The mean age of an esports fan is 32 years old, putting it in a different age group than sports fans, who tend to be a bit older on average. This means that esports fans are in a different demographic and consequently have different needs and expectations on products, services and customer experience.
We aim to close the gap by leveraging the fact that most of our employees are in the esports demographic, our history in esports with the vast betting experience of Kambi and our dedicated data team, to create a betting experience and an all-in-one esports platform that cater to the experience of the esports fans above all else.
SBC: In your opinion, how important is data when it comes to automation and the creation of high quality odds products?
AJ: In esports, data is the lifeblood of any good viewership enhancing service, probabilities included. In contrast to regular sports, esports games are played on the servers of tournament organisers and game providers. This makes every action and event in a game a data point that can be accessed by a data distributor, like us, instantly.
In comparison, most data in regular sports is collected through manual editing. This means that a person has to actively watch a game at an arena and fill in what is happening through a monitor. Although this approach has become very sophisticated, it creates limitations on data to be a true value driver in terms of increased accuracy in predicted probabilities and player engagement.
In esports, we can use data to drive both accuracy and player engagement by creating and showing the best offers that are most engaging given the current context.
As the data from esports matches can be collected and analysed at incredible speeds, many inherent delays and limitations that stem from the latency of data collection and manual processing can be upended. This brings the opportunity to create highly sophisticated models that can put out advanced offers, such as same game bet builders, with high uptime. It also opens the doors for round-by-round betting, something that has been demanded by the industry but hasn’t reached its potential yet.
SBC: Automation is proving to be increasingly important for the overall betting experience, but can you replace the ‘human touch’?
AJ: As with many industries, automation can’t and shouldn’t replace the human touch entirely. There should always be a real person monitoring the accuracy of the automated models in some instances.
While the automated models are more efficient, the largest impact comes from being able to calculate probabilities and pricing at higher rates and a faster pace, which has the potential of increasing uptime and allowing for more engaging live market types, such as flash markets.
We plan to use humans in our automated loops but the way of doing it without impacting end-user experience requires domain knowledge in esports as well as sports betting. With Kambi, we luckily possess strong knowledge in both domains.
SBC: Finally, what can we expect from Abios in 2022?
AJ: Abios will continue to deliver esports data and technology to the different actors and stakeholders in the esports industry while adding new coverage upon demand.
When it comes to new product development, our primary focus will lie in developing our odds product. The end goal is to provide a service to operators that will enable them to offer market-leading betting experiences fit for the esports community. However, more on that another time.