Rivalry: expect game publishers to embrace esports betting in 2023

Esports wagering company Rivalry has indicated that game developers and publishers will likely embrace esports betting in a similar fashion to pro sports leagues during 2023. 

Publishing its 2022 ‘Wrapped’ report, Rivalry noted the need for publishers to drive engagement further this year as the majority of revenues coming from in-game transactions. This, Rivalry claims, places ‘an important focus on esports’ as it can act as a driving force for greater user engagement. 

Rivalry cited research that found 69% of millennial NFL bettors watched more sports than usual if they placed a bet on the game. The operator stated that the industry could activate more users and ‘deepen engagement’ with users by embracing sports betting. 

The company stated: “Sports betting offers a slate of benefits that are uniquely aligned with the KPIs of publishers, esports organizations, and tournament organizers. Further embracing responsible and regulated sports betting will stand to offer the larger games industry opportunities to deepen engagement and monetize.”

Ahead of 2023, Rivalry made two other predictions – that Valorant will continue to rise in popularity and that mobile games will continue to gain greater traction throughout the year. 

Valorant was earmarked as an emerging betting contender within its 2022 review, with the first-person shooter game named as one to watch. 

“The growth of Valorant has been unlike any other title we have seen since our launch in 2018,” Rivalry’s report outlined. “Predicting the longevity of a new esports IP is tough, with many games coming and going over the years. 

“Ultimately, the publishers are bumpers on the bowling alley, and it’s the community that will determine if it wins or loses. But, being a betting company, our bet is Voralant is here to stay”.

The report also named the most popular betting markets from 2022, with League of Legends taking the top spot in an unsurprising fashion, with LoL’s World Championship establishing itself as the ‘most popular esports event in the world’. 

The top five consisted of League of Legends, CS:GO, Dota 2, Valorant and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. 

Rivalry also disclosed that the top three titles accounted for 90% of betting activity throughout 2022, with Valorant identified as a key growth title. 

Despite League of Legends taking the crown in terms of betting activity globally, Canadians betted the most on CS:GO, with the ESL Pro League and WePLay Academy League providing plenty of opportunities for betting. 

Commenting on the report, Rivalry CEO Steven Salz said: “2022 was an incredible year for Rivalry, and equally exciting for the larger esports betting segment we participate in. We have continued to extend our growth as a company, averaging 29% month-over-month growth from January to October, while our esports betting customer base has similarly increased in size and betting volume over that period. 

“From our leading position in esports betting, we’re keen to share our experiences, trends and outlook. Rivalry Wrapped not only speaks to the specific direction of the betting segment, but also where trends are headed in esports globally. This includes correlations we see between betting activity and viewership growth, just as you would in traditional sports. 

“Where we see momentum in betting activity, it often translates into enhanced economics and overall viewership growth for the esport. For that reason, we believe this information will be helpful not just to the betting industry, but the esports community more broadly.”

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