The deal will see Sportradar employ its Fraud Detection System at 450 betting operations around the globe to detect “suspicious betting patterns and behaviors” on eSports tournament play. Betradar will have exclusive rights to process and disseminate real-time match data, which will allow eSports operators to offer a wider variety of in-play wagers.
ESL CEO Raif Reichert announced the deal on Thursday at the Leaders Conference in London, saying Sportradar would help address “the most important” challenge facing the eSports industry, namely “the preservation of the integrity of the competitions.”
eSports betting has expanded dramatically this year in tandem with the mainstream sports media’s newfound willingness to consider the genre as just another sporting event. More and more online gambling outfits are adding dedicated eSports betting platforms while other operators are pursuing eSports team sponsorships with the same zeal that they pursue UK football deals. Just this week, the ESL announced a tie-up with Betway for its UK Premiership tournament.
Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl said eSports was “without a doubt the fastest growing sports globally across all measurables: prize money, fan viewership, sponsorship revenue” and ESL were “at the vanguard of this exciting sector.” Koerl says Sportradar will implement its data support for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 within “the next few months,” with other ESL competitions to follow.
BBC ADDS ESPORTS COVERAGE
Meanwhile, another mainstream media domino fell on Thursday as the BBC announced it would livestream all four days of the League of Legends World Championship quarter-finals from London’s Wembley Arena starting October 15. The coverage will be carried by the BBC Three and BBC Sport online networks, the same channels used for events like Wimbledon and the Glastonbury music festival.
BBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh called eSports “something millions of young Brits love” and said his network had “jumped at the chance” to bring this event to a wider audience.