What is e-Sports?

Esports is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. This guide offers tips and advice on how to bet on esports and looks back at the sport's history.

What is e-Sports?

Esports – An Introduction

It’s one of the fastest growing industries both in the UK and worldwide, generating over $1 billion in revenue every year. For many UK sports fans, however, esports remains something of an unknown quantity. What is e-Sports?

Expect that to change very quickly. The rise of esports shows no signs of abating, with estimates suggesting nearly 400m viewers tuned in to some form of esports in 2018.

Esports is competitive gaming – with a difference. Staged in front of packed-out arena audiences and streamed to millions online, it’s an industry that continues to evolve and reach new fans year-on-year.

Today, even some of the world’s best football clubs are getting in on the act, with Man City, PSG, Roma and Valencia just some teams building their presence in the esports world.

With interest growing so rapidly around the industry, it’s little surprise esports betting is also becoming increasingly attractive to UK sports fans.

What does esports stand for?

Esports simply stands for ‘electronic sports’.

A Brief History of Esports

While esports might seem like a completely modern phenomenon, it’s actually an industry with roots dating back over 40 years.

The first recognisable esports competition of its kind was held in 1980. Fittingly, it was centred around one of the most popular games of the decade – and one that helped define an era. Over 10,000 people attended the Atari Space Invaders Championship at Stanford University, a tournament based around by far the most recognisable game of the 1980s.

However, it was only in the late nineties with the rise of the internet that interest in esports as a genuine sporting competition really started to take off. The ‘Red Annihilation’ tournament in Atlanta is commonly regarded as the first truly ‘worldwide’ esports event.

Based around the popular nineties video game Quake, nearly 2,000 competitors took part, with Dennis ‘Thresh’ Fong taking the title. That achievement also saw him recognised as the world’s first ‘professional gamer’ by the Guinness World Records.


Esports History – Modern Day

Esports continued to build in popularity among dedicated gamers throughout the early 2000s, but it’s only in the last decade with the formation of various high-profile leagues that the sport has started to build mass-market appeal around the world.

The League of Legends Championship Series is the biggest esports league in North America, with an online audience estimated at around 1.7m unique visitors.

The Overwatch League, which plays host to teams from countries including US, China, Canada, South Korea, the UK and France, started in 2017 and has a prize pool totalling $3.5 million.

With even the Premier League now getting in on the act with the launch of the ePremier League in 2018/19 – won by Liverpool – esports betting options are only likely to grow over the next decade.

How much do Esports players make?

Esports is an increasingly lucrative pursuit for the world’s best players. With popular leagues including League of Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and Fortnite all attracting both huge viewing figures and sponsorship deals, cash prizes for both teams and individuals are increasing all the time.

In a sign of how competitive the industry has become over the last decade, 2019 Dota 2 International had the highest prize pool in esports history, with a combined pool of $30 million. The European OG team also walked away with a huge $11 million in prize money after claiming the title in 2019.

How much is the Esports industry worth?

Research suggests the esports industry is set to break through the $1 billion barrier in 2019, with revenues jumping by over a quarter in the space of just one year.

Much of this rapid growth has been put down to the industry’s ability to connect directly with fans beyond traditional media audiences – with online esports tournaments attracting loyal fanbases from around the world.

Esports Betting Tips

What is esports betting?

With new esports tournaments continuing to emerge every year, there are now plenty of options for UK bettors looking to develop their interest in the sport.

Tournaments can take many forms, with popular genres including FPS (first person shooter), MOBA (multiple online battle arenas), real-time strategy and general sports and fighting games.

Where to bet on Esports

Marathonbet offer esports markets on all major tournaments including League of Legends, The International (Dota 2) as well as leagues such as the Overwatch League.

Outright markets, 1X2, and 1,2 markets are offered by Marathonbet on the latest esports tournaments and matches.

Other types of common esports betting markets include handicap betting, total rounds, over/under markets, and markets on the result of specific maps.

How to bet on esports

Betting on esports isn’t all that different to betting on traditional sports – but as with any sport, the more knowledge you have about a tournament, the easier you’ll find it to make an informed decision about the prospects of each team or player.

The first thing to consider when betting on esports is the genre and game itself.

Make sure you familiarise with the players, teams and type of game being played to analyse where the value could lie in a set esports market.

For fans of FPS, Overwatch and CS:GO could offer value, while Dota2 and League of Legends betting is arguably more suited to those with an interest in MOBA games.

Esports Betting Examples

1,2 Esports Market – Betting Example

SuperStrike are priced up at 4/1 (5.00) to beat Warrior Squad in the League of Legends KeSPA Cup.

Greg places £10 on SuperStrike to win the match, and the team win to advance to the next round.

As Greg has won his bet, he’ll receive £50 back (£40 in winnings, plus his original stake of £10 back).

1X2 Esports Markets – Betting Example

Team Vanquish are taking on Wipeout FC in the Dota 2 Winter Blast.

Greg backs the draw (the ‘X’ in a 1X2 market) with a stake of £20 at 7/2 (4.50).

The match finishes all square, which means Greg receives £90 (£70 in winnings, plus his original stake of £20 back).

Outright Esports Markets – Betting Example

FC Ravenous are priced at 26/5 to win the CS:GO Champions Cup.

Greg backs them to win the tournament with a £10 bet, which they go on to do.

As Greg’s outright selection is a winning one, he receives a return of £62 (£52 in winnings, plus his original stake of £10 back).

Marathonbet has a wide range of esports betting markets covering all the major esports tournaments and events, so why not take a look?

See more Betting Guides here.

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