iGaming is built on being innovative and seizing market opportunities. The two most recent sectors to garner attention from the industry and mainstream investors, eSports and Fantasy Sports, fit the model perfectly. Using a cutting-edge session format and a unique blend of panelist perspectives, the Fishbowl Conversations on eSports and Fantasy Sports at the upcoming Malta iGaming Seminar (MiGS) looks to be highlight-reel worthy at a conference already packed with big names and even bigger networking plans.
Both eSports and Fantasy sports as digital gaming entities have been around for some time but it’s only been recently that the betting markets have found their way to monetizing the vast audience both enjoy. As the latest and greatest, both segments are showing much promise, as attested by MiGS Conference Chair Sue Schneider, saying “eSports has been developing under the radar in Asia over the past few years but is really breaking loose globally now with new projects and high profile investors, while Fantasy Sports has been a revelation to US bettors clamoring for online alternatives over waiting out slow-moving regulatory progress in poker and other games”.
eSports may be a little known but fast-growing segment in iGaming, but to millions of PC and online gamers of the non-betting variety, eSports has been a thrilling facet for the last few years. In essence, eSports refers to competitive video gaming, most commonly in game genres like multiplayer online battling and real-time strategy games such as League of Legends and Dota 2. According to ESPN, 27 million people tuned in to watch the 2014 finals of the League of Legends World Championship. That is more than watched the final game of the World Series (23.5 million) or the NBA Finals (18 million). The global audience on Twitch, a popular eSports live streaming site, is more than 100 million monthly active users.
Those types of audience figures have attracted the attention of the likes of Pinnacle Sports, who were one of the first betting outfits to offer odds on eSports tournaments, and celebrity investors like Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher, who have both been linked to eSports start up Unikrn, a global betting platform built specifically for eSports. As Head of Sportsbook for Pinnacle Sports, Marco Blume’s presence on the MiGS panel will engage the audience with a strong voice of experience that will be invaluable for understanding the challenges present with this nascent industry segment and answering the million dollar question of the moment: what do eSports bettors want?
MiGS panelist Victor Martyn will be lending his unique expertise and perspective to the Fishbowl Conversation as a World Champion for Starcraft in 1998 and the world’s first full time sponsored eSports player. Mr. Martyn translated the success from his playing career to building GosuGamers.net, a highly-ranked eSports media site, which he projects he will serve 500,000,000 page views to 20-25M unique eSports enthusiasts from around the world in 2015. Mr. Martyn’s take on how those views translate to the bottom line right now and what potential is there will be a solid takeaway for delegates attending this session.
The evolution of the season-long fantasy sports game into a more compressed version known as Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) has taken advantage of an established market and sped up the games to increase the player’s instant gratification and offer a more tantalizing risk-reward payout. This rapid development has caused the typically U.S.-focused industry segment to experience a surge in Europe, with market giant DraftKings acquiring a UK license and hiring a distinguished iGaming veteran to spearhead their eastward expansion. Offering the view from the cutting edge of fantasy sports evolution in Europe, Jon Trigg, Commercial Director for digital product building company Chroma, will give a wide spectrum look on developing iGaming strategies that utilise these emergent sectors while providing perspective on the promise and the pitfalls inherent in them.
Acting as moderator of the MiGS panel, Simon Burrell’s experience launching the first ever £100k jackpot sports fantasy game on the twitter platform for last year’s FIFA World Cup and having seen so many fads come and go, will guide the group of experts through a highly interactive session on day three of the MiGS conference schedule. Dubbed a “Fishbowl Conversation”, the session is not the typical conference fare because audience participation will be encouraged and even critical to where the discussion leads. By tapping into the most extraordinary resource of the MiGS event – the attendees’ shared interest and common language of iGaming – the session emphasizes the learning that takes place through conversations amongst people exploring both their similar and divergent experiences and perceptions.
It’s no mistake that the most innovative topics of the conference are being presented in an inventively-fashioned session format designed to educe the creativity and problem-solving nature of the audience. By appealing to the analytical nature of the industry, the Fishbowl Conversations on eSports and Fantasy Sports session at MiGS could end up being one of the most engaging discussions of the year.
Visit www.maltaigamingseminar.com for a complete conference program and schedule of networking events over 17-19 of November.