As one of a growing number of online sports books in the UK, Betway has become a familiar name. As well as plenty of exposure across television and social media, the company has developed a burgeoning reputation as one of the best places to gamble on a number of sports.
Now, the company is banking on the emerging esports industry as another lucrative way to broaden its appeal with a new demographic.
Last week, in fact, Betway announced a deal to become one of the major sponsors of the FACEIT Major London 2018. This massive CS:GO tournament will feature 24 teams and has a massive prize pool of $1,000,000 up for grabs.
The tournament will run Sept. 8-23 at the SSE Arena in Wembley, London. Hopes are high that this CS:GO Major will become one of the biggest esports events in UK history. The 24 teams competing in the event include some of the biggest names in CS:GO.
- Current Legends – Cloud9, FaZe Clan, Natus Vincere, MIBR, mousesports, Winstrike Team, G2 Esports and Fnatic
- Boston’s Fallen – Gambit Esports, Vega Squadron, Space Soldiers, BIG, Astralis, Team Liquid, North, Virtus.pro
- The Minors’ Champions – Ninjas in Pyjamas, compLexity Gaming, HellRaisers, Renegades, OpTic Gaming, Rogue, Team Spirit, TyLoo
The winning team will pocket $500,000 in cash, and the top eight teams in the tournament will all earn Legend Status. This prequalifies them for the next big event, the IEM Katowice Major 2019 in Poland. The teams finishing 9th to 16th will earn smaller amounts of cash and will earn Challenger status for this event (the equivalent of the Boston’s Fallen status outlined above).
Along with Betway, HyperX, DXRacer, ZOWIE Global, and SteelSeries will sponsor the event, which is shaping up to be one of the biggest CS:GO tournaments ever in the UK.
Betway’s commitment to esports
It is important to note this is not Betway’s first foray into the world of esports sponsorship. Earlier this year, they partnered with ESL to sponsor the Intel Extreme Masters Season XII in Katowice, another big CS:GO event. The company is also heavily involved as a sponsor with the top esports team Ninjas in Pyjamas.
However, Betway’s commitment to esports goes much further than simply sponsoring events and teams. It extends right through to the different products they offer. Some of these are extremely innovative.
Betway’s new customer esports betting offer
Betway has become one of the first betting sites to offer customers a chance to realize their Welcome Offer via esports. Indeed, the company is one of the few that actively campaigns to attract esports punters.
Furthermore, Betway has been very active in developing a number of different promotional items for esports punters. This includes Betway Boosts on esports, where certain selections in certain markets are quoted at a better value than normal.
In addition to the Betway Boosts for esports, the Acca (Accumulator) Insurance promotion offers a free esports bet (of between £2 and £25) if just one selection in your five lets you down.
Over the last few years, like other top bookmaking sites, Betway has also improved the quantity and quality of its esports betting service. The company now offers a far wider range of esports tournaments. Add to that an expansive option to bet In Play on esports as contests are in progress.
What barriers does Betway face in the UK?
The main barrier Betway faces in the UK at present is that esports are still niche. Some punters may not have even heard of esports. The games simply do not have as high of profiles as in some other countries, notably South Korea and China.
However, it is fair to say the esports scene in the UK is evolving. We recently saw Sky Sports devote two weekend afternoons on its prime sports channels to esports. There are also now dedicated esports channels on the Sky platform.
Even the BBC is keen on esports’ development. This all augurs well for the future of both esports and betting on them. And that is precisely why Betway has chosen to invest heavily in some of the biggest esports events in the UK. It is a long-term strategy, and if esports’ popularity in the UK follows the trend set in other countries, it should pay off big time for Betway.