There are enough articles currently on the internet talking about the devastating impact of COVID-19. To say this pandemic has wrecked lives in India will be an understatement. The Delta variant has at the time of writing this article plunged India into another lockdown. While recovery is imminent it will take a bit of time for India to come out of this.
With more and more Indians spending time at home, they have had to find ways to keep themselves entertained. While some may have taken to the kitchen to improve their cooking or baking skills, others have turned to online forms of entertainment to help them pass the time. Digital subscription services for NetFlix and Disney+ have seen an unprecedented increases in their subscriber base. Similarly, the online betting industry has seen more bookmakers make their way into India.
These operators have reduced their reliance on countries synonymous with gambling like the U.K and Sweden and are now on a quest to find their next golden goose.
With over a billion people and rapid improvements being made in smartphone and internet technology, India seems like the obvious choice. One look at sites such as CricketBettingWali.in and you will see a variety of both online casinos and cricket fantasy betting sites. Each provided their own take on the market yet localizing the product just enough to appeal to the Indian audience.
The localization covers the basic points such as providing desi games, payment methods, and in certain cases options when it comes to language. The overall package for the most part is very slick and finding your favorite cricket match to bet on or the latest live casino game is very easy.
However, despite the abundance of bookmakers available to Indians, it seems that few have managed to miss an important sport altogether. We are referring to none other than esports which was once considered an industry not worth investing in. However, lessons from the Western countries should be enough to make these bookmakers realize that there is value in esports. With tournaments for popular games such as DOTA, CS:GO and Starcraft now easily filling up stadiums, esports is here to stay.
Increasing their Esports Library
Some bookmakers such as Betway, and Parimatch have realized the shift in the trend and have started investing heavily in sponsorships signing the best squads playing the games. LAN play has also contributed to the increase in participation of players in e-sports. Initially, some of the popular games were restricted to online play but with LAN play returning, participation in esports has increased tremendously.
This needs to serve as a wake-up call to bookmakers making their way into India. They need to start investing in the esports ecosystem now if they are to appeal to the masses in India. The first step towards this is by adding new titles to their game’s library.
Getting a title such as Valorant will be a step in the right direction. It is made by Riot Games, the same developers that propelled League of Legends to new heights on the esports scene. Once the esports side of things pick up for the bookmakers, then they should start adding the more mainstream titles such as CS:GO, League of Legends and so on.
Sponsorships and partnerships
Once the titles have been locked into the library, the next step would be to sponsor teams and partner with tournament hosts. Getting your name across a player’s jersey or even having it plastered across stadiums will surely create the awareness one requires. Both 1xBet and Betway and great examples of this.
1xBet started off its sponsorship journey by promoting the Electronic Sports League partnership. This has now snowballed which sees their name on top billing across DreamHack and ESL events. They have also gone and signed an agreement with WePlay. Such strategic moves are extremely valuable as they override any existing agreements that one might have between teams and competitors.
Single event partnerships are also great because they are a one-time off which allows the bookmaker to test the sponsorship waters. The bookmaker can use these as test cases to determine whether they are at the right stage for sponsorship or there is more groundwork that needs to be done.
In conclusion, it is important for both established brands or aspiring bookmakers to take esports seriously. This is one industry that will go from strength to strength.