Esports, in a nutshell, is people playing video games against each other competitively. Experts predict that the industry will be worth $1.48bn (£1.18bn) by 2020.
Established names in traditional sports such as Paris Saint-Germain, Schalke 04 and a plethora of NBA franchises join brands such as Audi and Visa in the exponentially expanding list of investors.
Often with anything of a competitive nature, gambling is starting to become an integral part of fan culture in esports. With competitors across a multitude of game titles playing regularly for their share of six figure prize-pools, esports continues to garner attention from all over the globe.
It's a phenomenon that sells out stadiums and arenas across the world as passionate fans gather to watch the crème de la crème battle it out.
The biggest esports titles include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2 and League of Legends. Counter-Strike is a first person shooter whilst Dota 2 and League of Legends are multiplayer online battle arenas. Each individual title is effectively an esport in its own right. Although League of Legends and Dota 2 share the MOBA category they are fundamentally different and incredibly complex.
When looking to make money from esports it's important to carefully research each team competing and their form going into an event. Competitive gaming has a tendency to change very quickly. To draw on a football comparison, the rules and fundamentals of the sport have only changed slightly in its comparatively long history. A game developer can release an update to the game that will completely change the way that the game is played. Although there tends to be three to four big gameplay changes a year, it's not outside the realms of possibility for a game to change drastically once a month.
It tends to make the competitive scene even more exciting yet adds difficulty in predicting the outcome of both matches and tournaments.
The gambling aspect remains the same, however. Making money on the Betfair Exchange stems from volatility. Should you lay at a lower price than you back, you can guarantee yourself money. The bigger the gap between the lay and back bets the higher the profit. Esports games are traditionally extremely fast paced and a team that looks nailed on to win can still lose through one poor decision.
In football, when a team is winning by four goals there's little to no chance they will can lose. The equivalent deficit in esports is overturned on a far more regular basis. There's so many small intricacies and objectives in each title that provide a huge number of data points - all impacting the odds throughout the match.
Losing the first match doesn't result in immediate elimination, so there's could well be the chance of a couple of early upsets.
League of Legend – Mid-Season Invitational
May 10 sees the start of the Mid-Season Invitational held in Brazil. The tournament runs until May 21 with the winning team taking home around £200,000 to split between them.
Week 1 sees a group stage format with six teams playing in a Round Robin style format. These matches are played out over 1 game with the top 4 teams proceeding to the knockout stages starting on May 19.
Last year’s winners SK Telecom T1 look like the early favourites to repeat their winning performances from last year, but it’s worth keeping an eye Europe’s G2 Esports and Taiwan’s FlashWolves to cause potential upsets along the way.