What does the rise of eSports betting mean for FIFA fans?
The market for eSports is now worth $900 million globally, while revenues for the FIFA video game franchise grow by 23% each year. As a result, it’s only natural that the two cross over to create a huge, mutually-beneficial market. As with any sport – especially those that enjoy this kind of success – you’d expect a healthy betting market to develop around it.
While a black market hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent years, it is now possible to wager on eSports via legitimate betting sites. With the news that eSports betting is worth billions, it’s no wonder that efforts were made to bring it into the mainstream. With this in mind, how could its rise affect fans of the FIFA video game?
More chances to play and watch
eSports has now gone mainstream, with reputable networks like the BBC and ESPN now covering events. In fact, 1.2 million players entered the FIFA eWorld Cup (FIWC) in 2016. The money from legitimate betting should allow eSports and FIFA to expand their reach beyond what was previously possible.
Ordinary fans could become eSports stars
The rise of eSports and eSports betting means there’s room for eSports stars to make a very good living out of it. Many real football teams have betting operators as shirt sponsors and this brings in millions to the relevant clubs. With such lucrative sponsorship deals available to the best eSports players, they could soon become millionaires.
And the fact that ordinary people (some of whom are just kids) can become stars is part of the appeal of eSports and FIFA for many fans. Because we see ourselves in the stars of eSports, we’re more likely to root for our favourite players, or to spend time perfecting our skills in the hope of joining the FIFA elite.
Since 2014, all major sportsbooks have offered wagers on eSports events. And you don’t even have to bet a lot; if you’d put just £40 down on August Rosenmeier to win the FIWC in 2014, you’d have come away with an attractive £332. As eSports is a rapidly growing market, it stands to reason that the types of bets will diversify and that this will add to the excitement for punters.
More in-game options and authenticity
Just over a year ago the Guardian stated that the FIFA video-game franchise changed football – and this is hardly an exaggeration. In fact, the player ratings have proved so accurate over the years, that real clubs have used it to scout and improve their squads. With player profiles that include 30 different traits, Electronic Arts (EA) has certainly done a good job of making their flagship title as authentic as possible.
The additional exposure that eSports betting brings should mean that FIFA video games will only get better – with more options and even greater authenticity as time goes on. This will surely make the game more exciting and add yet further to its popularity.