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eSports

DATA.BET welcomes Otto Bonning as the new Head of Sales

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DATA.BET, a leading provider of advanced esports solutions, proudly announces the appointment of Otto Bonning as the new Head of Sales. Otto brings a wealth of experience in sales, spanning a decade and covering various industries, including sports betting, events, athlete management, and media, providing him with a comprehensive understanding of the sports data provider world.

This change marks a significant milestone for DATA.BET, reinforcing the company’s commitment to providing efficient services and products to its clients. With Otto’s expertise and strategic vision, DATA.BET is poised for continued success in the rapidly evolving esports industry. For instance, one of the key goals for 2024 is to enhance industry awareness of DATA.BET and showcase its capabilities as a leading esports solutions provider.

Otto plans to work collaboratively across teams to ensure the delivery of a top-class product, enhance marketing efforts, and drive more awareness of the company’s identity.

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Otto Bonning commented on his focus for the upcoming year, “First, I’m delighted to be surrounded by so many talented people. I truly believe that we are on a strong path and will only continue to grow as the year goes on. My primary focus will be on establishing partnerships with key companies in the industry, new revenue, and making sure we deliver on our promises.”

eSports

eSports in the CIS region , Q&A w/ Viktor Block, Senior Sales Manager/PandaScore

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Esports has long been popular in the CIS region, with various top-tier teams and players all calling it home. How has the landscape evolved over the last few years? Have any particular trends emerged that have surprised you at all?

Esports boomed in the CIS region in 2008 when Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games became really popular. While esports had been a thing as far back as 2003, the rise of games such as Counter-Strike and DOTA2 was a major catalyst for the upward trajectory the sector has been riding ever since. In recent years, the infrastructure needed to support esports has improved drastically across the CIS region, including the construction of the Pixel Esports Arena in Minks, Belarus, and the Cyberspace Arena in Almaty, Kazakhstan, both of which hold top-flight contests. Internet connectivity has also improved, while support from local and international sponsors such as Monster Energy, Red Bull and War Gaming have provided funds for further investment while also driving awareness. Ultimately, this has seen the landscape evolve into a thriving industry with lots of opportunities for further growth.

In terms of trends, and especially relating to esports betting, I’ve been surprised by the high demand for betting on console games – we call them eBattles and they include disciplines such as eSoccer and eBasketball. I think this is just a natural development that has occurred off the back of strong demand for video game content, which is often the bridge between traditional sports and esports.

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What factors have contributed to esports’ growth in the CIS over the past few years?

One of the biggest factors for me is that teams have become more professional and are now training and playing in well-run clubs. This takes place in dedicated buildings and rooms, set up with high-speed internet and the absolute best gaming equipment. Player salaries have also gone up, which has increased the calibre of players taking part in contests across the region, taking competitiveness to the next level. Today, many CIS players now play for high-ranked teams such as Virtus.pro, Team Spirit, Betboom or Na`Vi which compete on the international stage. This in turn is helping esports grow across the CIS region.

 

Given how many countries are in the CIS region, can you walk us through some of the biggest regulatory differences when it comes to betting on esports? And how does PandaScore navigate these changes?

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The legality of betting and esports betting differs from country to country within the CIS region. Some are super strict or even prohibit gambling, while others take a more liberal approach, regulating the activity and licensing operators. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest markets and their approach.

In Ukraine, esports has been recognised as a sport since 2018 and in 2020 the country regulated and licensed gambling for the first time. The law focuses mostly on standard betting – sports and casino – but is likely to also include esports betting given that esports is a recognised sport in the country with tier-one Ukraine sportsbooks like Favbet and Parimatch offering it to their players.

Kazakhstan has a growing gambling industry with betting shops and casinos operating in major cities such as Almaty and Nur-Sultan. Gambling is regulated by the Ministry of Culture and Sports and while the regulatory framework is somewhat restrictive, sports betting – which is likely to include esports betting – is permitted.

Navigating the constant changes in betting regulation across the CIS region can be challenging, so we make sure to keep up to speed with the latest developments by monitoring legislative updates and amendments to regulatory guidelines. We also track industry trends and best practices to anticipate regulatory changes ahead of time, allowing us to adapt quickly if needed. This can involve benchmarking against competitors, attending conferences and networking with key stakeholders.

 

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In your view, are there any unique opportunities for the expansion of esports and esports betting within the CIS region? And how does this differ to other regions?

It’s important to understand that CIS, especially Ukraine and Kazakhstan, play by their own rules. By that I mean they are very different to other esports markets, so don’t think what works in Italy will work in Ukraine. For example, while League of Legends is very popular in Europe, in CIS, it’s Dota 2 that takes the top spot. But for those who can understand the region and each market, there are plenty of opportunities to explore.

Let me elaborate. Dota 2 is thriving in the broader CIS, with regular tournaments and events attracting large audiences both offline and online. teams like Natus Vincere (Na’Vi), Virtus.pro and Team Spirit have achieved significant success in Dota 2 competitions, contributing to the game’s popularity in the region. While Dota 2 is big, other video games also enjoy significant popularity, including CS2, World of Tanks and Fortnite among others.

Operators need to consider this when deciding their markets and odds, marketing strategies and plans for player engagement.

 

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What would you say is the key to creating a successful esports product for a CIS audience?

Understanding layer preferences in each market and delivering an experience that exceeds their expectations. For the CIS region, this means focusing on Dota 2 – this is a game that offers deep and strategic gameplay requiring teamwork, communication and skilful execution of plans and strategies. Its competitive nature appeals to gamers as they enjoy the challenge of multiplayer experiences – this goes back to the original MOBAs back in 2008. These factors must be present in the esports betting experience offered to players – at PandaScore, this means a comprehensive Dota 2 offering that covers markets such as Kills, Towers, Roshans and Barracks, with players able to challenge themselves in a betting competition against others.

Support is also key to delivering a quality player experience. We offer round-the-clock assistance and are regularly rolling out updates to improve the experience players receive when betting on esports at sportsbooks using our data, odds and betting tools such as our Bet Builder. We are always working hard to expand our offering to cover the most in-demand games including CS2, Valorant, Call of Duty and many more.

 

What trends or developments do you anticipate shaping the future growth of esports in the CIS region over the next few years?

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The industry will continue to grow and become more professional. Esports is different to traditional sports and it still lacks recognition in some markets, even though it is considered an official sport in a growing number of countries across the CIS region. I think as it evolves, more governments will provide more support for esports as it brings tremendous economic, cultural and social benefits. This could include funding for esports initiatives, rolling out regulatory frameworks, helping to foster partnerships with esports organisations or simply recognising it as a sport.

The continued proliferation of smartphones across the region will be a further catalyst for esports growth. Titles such as PUGB Mobile, Free Fire and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang will attract large audiences and provide new opportunities for teams, players, sponsors and other stakeholders to explore. This is a really exciting time for esports and esports betting in the CIS region, and PandaScore is thrilled to be part of it.

The post eSports in the CIS region , Q&A w/ Viktor Block, Senior Sales Manager/PandaScore appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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Asia

Profiles of Animesh Agarwal, Naman Mathur, Payal Dhare and Tirth Mehta

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  1. Animesh Agarwal aka 8Bit Thug, Founder & CEO of 8Bit Creatives and Co-Founder of S8UL

Mr Animesh Agarwal is the Founder, and CEO of 8Bit Creatives, India’s leading Esports consulting and talent management agency.  He is also the founder of S8UL, a hub of gaming content and Esports. S8UL is the parent org of IQOO SOUL, the leading Esports organization in India.

S8UL is the only Indian Esports organization to win at the global Esports Awards and has done so multiple times by securing the prestigious ‘Esports Content Creator of the Year’ recently. Having also won the inaugural ‘Global Impact on Mobile Gaming’ award at the MOBIES earlier this year, the organization has elevated the stature of Indian Esports worldwide. Moreover, team SOUL has also roped in iQOO as its exclusive title sponsor, marking the first time that an Esports organization in the country secured a high-profile title sponsorship with a mobile manufacturer that extends beyond individual tournaments.

Animesh dons several hats as an entrepreneur, an ex-pro gamer, a monster energy Esports athlete, a gaming & luxury lifestyle content creator, and a pioneer in the Indian Gaming Industry. He has a deep understanding of the industry and is dedicated to shaping the Esports and gaming industry in India. He has partnered with other industry front runners like Nodwin Gaming & LOCO to make substantial strides in advancing gaming & Esports in India.

His Company, 8Bit Creatives is equally making remarkable milestones in the business of content creation and brand collaborations around gaming and esports. With some of India’s top gaming talents in their line-up and backed with experience and exposure of collaborating and curating campaigns with 100+ top-notch brands like Netflix, Coca-cola, Reliance Digital, Mx Players, OnePlus, Realme Narzo, Flipkart, Airtel, and many others; 8Bit Creatives boasts of managing popular and renowned gaming content creators and influencers- Mortal, Scout, Mavi, Snax, Thug, Payal, Kaashvi, 8bit Goldy, 8bit Sid to name a few.

 

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  1. Naman Mathur aka Mortal, Co-Founder of S8UL

Naman Mathur, popularly known as Mortal, is a prominent figure in the Indian Esports community and the Co-Founder and CMO of S8UL Esports. Known for his exceptional gaming skills and influential presence, Naman has been instrumental in shaping the landscape of Indian Esports. His achievements both as an Esports athlete and a gaming creator have earned him global recognition, cementing him as the face of Indian Esports.

Naman holds the distinction of being the only Indian Esports athlete nominated four times in the prestigious global Esports Awards. The 26-year-old clinched the runner-up in the ‘Esports Personality of the Year’ category in consecutive years in 2022 and 2023, following his previous nomination for the ‘Streamer of the Year’ category in 2020 and 2021 where he secured the second position on both occasions.

As an Esports athlete, the Mumbai-born gamer has won notable tournaments including the BMPS Season 1 (2022), PUBG: Mobile Club Open, and PUBG Mobile India Series (2019) while also representing India on the international stage. Acknowledged for his exceptional gaming content, Naman was honored with the ‘Best Gaming Influencer’ at the Impact Digital Influencer Awards last year.

With an impressive following of 7 million subscribers on YouTube and over 5.3 million followers on Instagram, Naman’s influence transcends his gaming prowess, as he has played a pivotal role in elevating the status of Indian Esports on a global scale.

 

  1. Payal Dhare aka PayalGaming, India’s leading female gamer who is part of 8Bit Creatives

Payal Dhare, hailing from the small city of Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh, defied societal stereotypes from an early age and embarked on a journey as a gamer. It all began when her cousin brothers introduced her to the world of video games.

While Payal’s father provided unwavering support, her mother initially shared the concerns for her future. However, Payal’s determination and passion gradually changed her mother’s perspective. As a result, her mother now stands as a proud supporter of Payal’s achievements.

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Payal commenced her career as a hardcore content creator. Although her first video on YouTube did not feature gameplay, it served as a significant starting point for her. Unlike aspiring lifestyle influencers, Payal’s primary focus was to connect with her audience through gaming. She aimed to have fun while playing games and involve more people in the process. Payal believed that competitiveness was not always necessary when engaging in video games.

By breaking stereotypes and pursuing her passion, Payal Dhare has become an inspiration for aspiring gamers, content creators, and individuals seeking to challenge societal norms. With over 3.1 million followers on Instagram and 3.69 million subscribers on YouTube, her journey exemplifies the importance of following one’s dreams, even in the face of adversity.

 

  1. Tirth Mehta, Bronze medal winner in Hearthstone at Asian Games 2018

Tirth Mehta, a 28-year-old lad from the sleepy town of Bhuj in Gujarat’s Kutch district won the bronze medal in Hearthstone — a popular online digital collectible card game — at the Esports demonstration event at the 2018 Asian Games. Hearthstone, developed and published by American video game company, Blizzard Entertainment, has garnered huge interest among online gamers from across Asia, including Japan, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, besides India. The game is a combination of chess and poker, requiring players to have core skills in maths and probability.

The post Profiles of Animesh Agarwal, Naman Mathur, Payal Dhare and Tirth Mehta appeared first on European Gaming Industry News.

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EA SPORTS

EA SPORTS NHL 24 World Championship Winner Announced

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A new champion was crowned yesterday in New York during the EA SPORTS NHL 24 World Championship, the National Hockey League announced. Ethan ‘Polgz’ Kerr-Polgar, who represented the Toronto Maple Leafs, earned his first EA SPORTS NHL 24 title, the $30,000 USD grand prize and a custom hockey stick trophy. The 21-year-old, Newmarket, Ont., resident won the back-and-forth, best-of-three series, including winning Game 1 in overtime against fellow Canadian Justin ‘Regs’ Reguly. With the win, Polgz cements his status as the top NHL 24 player in the World.

Polgz (@PolgzNHLon X) is an avid hockey fan and gamer who chose to represent his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs in the EA SPORTS NHL 24 World Championship. His superior offensive skills allowed him to score eight goals in the Final series to earn the World title. Polgz dedicated the win to his mother, who is his biggest supporter and has beat cancer three times.

Fellow Maple Leafs representative Regs finished the day as runner-up. Regs was previously the North American Champion of EA SPORTS NHL 22.

The virtual qualifying events for the live competition were hosted in partnership with Rival on its fan engagement platform that connects gamers from all over the world. The NHL 24 World Championship qualifying spanned two continents and showcased the global reach of virtual hockey.

EA SPORTS NHL 24 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS

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Round Robin

Polgz (Toronto Maple Leafs) 3 vs. Regs (Toronto Maple Leafs) 2 (OT)

Deeks (Montreal Canadiens) 7 vs Tempannen (Anaheim Ducks) 3

Regs (Toronto Maple Leafs) 2 vs. Tempannen (Anaheim Ducks) 1 (OT)

Polgz (Toronto Maple Leafs) 4 vs. Deeks (Montreal Canadiens) 3

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Regs (Toronto Maple Leafs) 5 vs. Deeks (Montreal Canadiens) 1

Polgz (Toronto Maple Leafs) 4 vs. Temppanen (Anaheim Ducks) 1

Standings after Round Robin

1. Eki (*automatically advanced to Semifinal) *defeated Gren for 1st seed

2. Gren (*automatically advanced to Semifinal)

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3. Polgz, TOR (3-0-0), 6 pts

4. Regs, TOR (2-0-1), 5 pts

5. Deeks, MTL (1-2-0), 2 pts

6. Temppanen, ANA (0-2-1), 1 pts

Semifinal (best-of-three)

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EKI (NYI) vs. Regs (TOR)

Regs wins series 2-0

Gren (BUF) vs. Polgz (TOR)

Polgz wins series 2-0

Final (best-of-three)

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Game 1: Polgz, 3 vs. Regs, 2 (OT)

*Polgz took an early lead over Regs by scoring the first goal of the series. Polgz secured a two-goal lead in the second period, which was quickly answered by Regs bringing the score to 2-1. Regs made an epic comeback in the third period, tying up the game with 17 seconds left and forcing the first game into overtime. Despite strong gameplay from both sides, Polgz pulled through to earn the overtime win.

Game 2: Polgz, 0 vs. Regs, 5

*Regs dominated in Game 2 of the Final. He scored two goals in quick succession in the first period, then took a three-goal lead in the second period. Polgz had some good chances in the second period, but ultimately was unable to overcome Regs. Regs sealed the deal with another two goals towards the end of the third period, securing a 5-0 win over Polgz and tying the series at 2-2.

Game 3: Polgz, 5 vs. Regs, 3

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*An unstoppable Polgz took the early lead, scoring four unanswered goals in the first period. After a mostly quiet second period, Regs got on the board with two unanswered goals of his own, suddenly cutting Polgz’s lead in half. Entering the third period at 4-2 with Polgz in the lead, Regs made up ground with another goal early in the third period, making for an exciting battle for the win. In the end, Polgz locked in the win with a fifth goal in the third period, winning Game 3 with a final score of 5-3 and ending the series 2-1.

World Championship History

YEAR WINNER RUNNER UP
2024 Polgz (Ethan Kerr-Polgar) Regs (Justin Reguly)
2023 Jos x 10 (Joseph Olmstead) EKI (Erik Tammenpää)
2022* NA: Regs (Justin Reguly)

EUR: EKI (Erik Tammenpää)

NA: Gren-35- (Matthew Grenier)
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EUR: J-_-JamalTheMan (Jimi Rönkkönen)

2021* NA: Gren-35- (Matthew Grenier)

EUR: EKI (Erik Tammenpää)

NA: Regs (Justin Reguly)

EUR: NikkeDangles (Niklas Tukiainen)

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2020* CAN: Regs (Justin Reguly)

USA: OF’s HF (Josh Fuss)

EUR: Artuzio (Arttu Mustila)

CAN: YungGren (Matthew Grenier)

USA: Top Shelf Cookie (Matthew Gutkoski)

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EUR: MrNipsuli (Roni Kajan)

2019 Top Shelf Cookie (Matthew Gutkoski) JohnWayne90 (John Casagranda)
2018 EKI (Erik Tammenpää) Jr Pens (David Roebuck)

*World Championship canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions NA = North America / EUR = Europe

EA SPORTS NHL 23 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL STANDINGS

1. Polgz, Toronto Maple Leafs ($30,000 USD)

2. Regs, Toronto Maple Leafs ($10,000 USD)

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3. Gren, Buffalo Sabres ($5,000 USD)

4. Eki, New York Islanders ($5,000 USD)

5. Deeks, Montreal Canadiens ($1,000 USD)

6. Temppanen, Anaheim Ducks ($1,000 USD)

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