The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a major eSports boom, and such is reflected in EveryMatrix’s report on 2020 eSports betting. The report graphs the growth of eSports betting throughout the pandemic, including an x40 leap in the month of April alone. 80% of the total betting volume is comprised of two games: FIFA and NBA 2K.
The indefinite postponement of the 2019-2020 NBA season has lead players and fans alike to turn to NBA 2K for their basketball fix. The NBA even took it upon itself to host a players’ only NBA 2K20 tournament on ESPN. The countless soccer leagues around the globe that have been forced to cancel or furlough their seasons are probably responsible for FIFA’s jump in the eSports world as well. The report also notes that average bet values for basketball and soccer (presented in euros) have dropped below those of their virtual counterparts since the beginning of the pandemic. The impact of sports simulation games on eSports betting is so great that the report was split in two, and classic games were given their own analyzation.
League of Legends controls 38% of the total eSports betting volume for classic games. Other notable titles include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and DOTA 2, holding 29% and 18% of the betting volume respectively. The pool of bettors is growing, as 10% of players who betted on real sports, transitioned to eSports betting post lockdown. The turnover since lockdown has also gone up from 159 euros to 473 euros for eSports. Meanwhile, the turnover per player for traditional sports has dropped from 930 euros to 733 euros.
Back in 2018, the report places eSports event viewership at 400 million, compared to the 2018 World Cup Final’s viewership of 517 million. The industry has only grown since then, with 54% of their demographic pertaining to 21 to 35 years olds with high incomes. Needless to say, eSports was already on the rise, but the impact of the recent pandemic has definitely accelerated its recent growth.