Italy wasn’t the only big winner from Euro 2020, with a stellar performance for Efootball setting the up and coming esports game up for a more prosperous future.
Betbazar CEO Alex Iaroshenko talks us through betting trends this summer, keeping players engaged ahead of the new football season and how stadium traffic might influence Efootball numbers.
SBC: Now that the tournament is behind us, can you talk us through Efootball’s performance during the Euros. Did it live up to your expectations? Any stats you can share?
AI: Overall, we were happy with the performance. One of the most obvious benefits is that a lot more people were attracted to Efootball because of the size of the event – which means plenty of opportunity to retain newly acquired players.
This surge was reflected in the numbers – where we not only had the usual punters that we would expect to see get involved, but also a significant surge in casual bettors via mobile – many of whom were likely socialising with friends and wanted to make the Euro 2020 experience a bit more interesting.
Efootball, of course, is an ideal vertical for operators looking to scale up their offering – delivering a product that needs very little introduction to sports fans. Now, following the Euros – operators need to identify what worked well, and how to keep the ball rolling. The lack of sporting leagues for the summer break certainly offers a huge opportunity to keep that entertainment going.
SBC: Were there any betting trends across the month-long tournament that stood out or surprised you? How can operators learn from these trends?
AI: There was a definite sense that bettors were coming to this tournament with a set budget. We saw an uptick in Efootball volume when the favourites to win the Euros won their games – and a drop when they didn’t. As we all know, operators never like to see the favourite win as it can only mean losses, but it does mean that bettors are then looking for something else to keep them entertained once they have their winnings – and again, Efootball has filled this niche perfectly.
After all, players want to stick with something they feel comfortable with – and given the universal familiarity of FIFA and Pro Evolution, it’s made for a simple route to familiarity.
They know the mechanics and what everyone is trying to do, so it is very easy to get engaged in the game. All in all, I believe we’ve been able to showcase a very attractive way for punters to spend their winnings, as well as greatly mitigating the operator’s risk for main sporting events.
SBC: Did the demographics enjoying Efootball, or the way it was consumed during the tournament, differ from how you expected? If so, in what ways?
AI: We expected to see the two main demographics that have become a regular fixture time and again over the past year. Effectively, these two segments are those who were interested in esports before the pandemic, and those who got involved or joined during it.
The second group occupy a large portion of those who took to Efootball during lockdown and are now making it a regular part of their entertainment mix while enjoying major tournaments.
This was reflected particularly in Latin America and, of course, all across Europe. Interestingly, we saw far more attention from North America than the levels of traffic we would have expected – which has been another lesson for us, and potentially an interesting opportunity.
Aside from that, there weren’t any other big surprises in the demographics we saw getting involved, Esports has a solid community with many similar characteristics – and will continue to do so as the fanbase expands.
SBC: During the quieter period between the Euros and the kick off of the football season, how have you supported operators and kept gamers engaged?
AI: This is exactly what Efootball brings to the table – giving gamers something to enjoy during down-time. Obviously, we like to see this kind of synergistic relationship with bigger events and expect to experience more interest during a big tournament like the Euros – and we did – but the main appeal of this vertical now needs to be about offering players the chance to enjoy the action during the gaps in the calendar.
SBC: We are likely to see bettors moving from their television screens to live matches in the coming months. How will this impact Betbazar’s approach?
AI: The extent that we’ll see increased stadium traffic influence Efootball numbers is an unknown that we wouldn’t try to predict. I certainly think there will be fewer watching in front of televisions and desktops alone – which will likely have a far stronger influence on numbers than those at stadiums.
However, the performance we’ve seen via mobile – and indeed the social element the vertical offers given its mass-familiarity – is likely to continue to be a strong growth area as the world begins to return to normal again.
Streaming, and indeed live matches are going to be a key part of our approach for the coming months. Efootball’s key selling point is the live nature of the action and the immediacy of games – and this is what will continue to drive its popularity.
Our method of delivery makes sure that it is clear to players that the game is happening in real time, and they aren’t watching a recorded one. Offering a stream of the Efootball players in action while playing is essential to further communicate that sense of here-and-now – and a trick that operators shouldn’t miss.