PandaScore is in the business of esports data, big esports data. The company’s objective is simple, break down all you know about competitive video gaming and pack it in actionable statistics that can help tournament organizers and competitive outfits inform their decisions.
Back in the day esports may have seemed like a trade not worth really engaging with, but today, esports franchises are worth millions of dollars, and it’s at this point where PandaScore comes in to articulate trends that the constant stream of data reveals to the company’s trained analysts.
Panda seems to inform every aspect of the esports experience, from real-time odds to help potential bettors make a better-informed choice, to running in-depth analyses of player performance that allow teams to work on their weaknesses and emerge stronger.
Today, we get to ask PandaScore CEO Flavien Guillocheau what the role of big data in esports is and why it is so valuable.
Q: PandaScore has just expanded with yet another title, Valorant. Do you see enough demand for the game as a competitive option?
We are seeing a lot of requests from our customers especially in the past couple of months with the announcement of a structured league by Riot Games. This effort is great for the professionalization of the league and makes it very safe to offer. Of course we are not expecting Valorant to compete with CSGO or Dota 2 but there is some hype now and we expect the game to stick, so it’s important for bookmakers to offer it.
Q: Do you think 2020 boosted interest in esports and do you think any surge in engagement will be lasting?
Naturally 2020 had a very positive impact in esports betting. Everyone can agree on that. When sports were shutdown it was one of the only alternatives, and although sports were only halted for a short amount of time, the interest in esports didn’t decrease. In fact, we found that it actually consolidated and now we are experiencing real growth.
Q: How did traditional sportsbooks responded to the pandemic, were they looking to acquire more esports assets and are they still doing it?
We saw a short panic period to get esports on their website as operators quickly turned to find an alternative betting opportunity for their players. Now live sports have returned, bookmakers are still seeing esports as an important part of their portfolio and a vertical worth investing in. Not only that, it is also an ideal product that will help build the resilience of a sportsbook in the event of live sports being cancelled again.
Q: Can you tell us more about the traditional PandaScore customer? Do you cooperate with sportsbooks more so than esports franchises or vice versa?
We currently work with prominent brands such as Ladbrokes and Neds in Australia and New Zealand and also Betcris in Latin America. To be honest it’s really great to see more traditional bookmakers offer esports and seeing a growing interest from new and existing players to their platforms. There is also a lot to learn on our end regarding the geographic differences and their trading experience. We really anticipate that every Sportsbook will have to offer a competitive esports product in the future and we want to help make this happen. We really try to help our customers by sharing our esports knowledge on multiple fronts: trading, risk, marketing etc.
Q: You have just added Valorant to increase your reach, but speaking of growth are there new markets on the line for PandaScore in 2021?
Covering new titles is one of our development axis and we are looking at Arena of Valor and PUBG for example which are very popular in Asia. But we also want to continue pushing where we are ahead of the competition with a more exotic bets offering, for example, a Bet Builder or Player props.
Q: Is there any particular appetite for esports betting or do you think consumers are more interested in the raw competitive gaming experience without the need to engage via wagers?
The last few months have clearly shown us that there is a huge interest in esports betting. But if you look at history, skin gambling was already big in 2016, esports fantasy leagues were popular back in 2015 and so on. So there is no doubt that esports fans are interested in engaging via wagers. The question I think that bookmakers need to ask themselves is, do I have a good enough product to offer those demanding fans and can we make them stay?