Bayes Esports: the esports data ecosystem needs professionalisingBy William - 23 August 2022
Despite the great interest in existing esports leagues and tournaments, what’s remained missing is the necessary infrastructure and professionalism that could help lesser- known esports titles get established as more mainstream.
Bayes Esports wants to change that. Martin Dachselt, CEO and Managing Director of the Berlin-based tech startup, explains how.
Esports is growing steadily across different industries with growth of 50-100 per cent year over year, and none more so than the betting industry. This will accelerate as the audience grows older and, explains Martin, evidence of this can be seen in the fact that three of the oldest esports titles, CS:GO, DOTA and League of Legends, remain the most popular.
“In Asia and America, you have some newer titles entering the mix, but broadly speaking it’s these three titles. The industry needs time. Non-endemic sponsors need time to see the opportunity to reach customers. As players grow older, they take on more of a consumer role.
“When you were young, you played football on a Saturday. When you’re an adult, you’re more likely to be found watching it on the television, which entails advertising and merchandise – and you have more money to spend. It’s exactly the same with esports. This is what attracts more sponsorship.
Bayes Esports has built a diverse ecosystem of over 350 data consumers for use cases such as analytics, media, distribution, and integrity. Earlier this year, ESL Gaming and Bayes Esports expanded their strategic partnership, one that has been in place since 2019, to focus on the extension of content by adding additional game titles, the optimisation of coverage by achieving nearly 24/7 content availability and exploring possibilities for generating data-driven content and marketing solutions for existing and new partners of ESL.
Despite the great interest in existing esports leagues and tournaments, what remained missing was the necessary infrastructure and professionalism that could help lesser-known esports titles get established as more mainstream. Through their partnership, ESL Gaming and Bayes Esports are looking to fill those gaps.
“Professionalisation requires data and the application of data to retain customers. Esports is difficult because if someone watches soccer they know what’s going on but this is less likely for esports titles. We need to invest, educate and create interesting storylines – and this isn’t limited to consumers.
“The esports industry itself needs educating too because a lot of companies in the space have come from grassroots. For instance, here is a casual attitude towards moving matches.
“This harms the audience. There could be supporters of a particular team who’ve set aside time to watch them play that then finds out the match was moved forward and they’ve missed it. It’s disappointing and can stop people engaging with the sport.
“We are actively discussing this with tournament providers to ensure they announce in good time when tournaments and individual matches are occurring. It should be one year in advance, not last minute. If esports wants to replicate the success of traditional sports, it needs to consider more closely the needs of its audience. A lot can still be done.”
Bayes Esports’ CEO and Managing Director Martin Dachselt has more than 20 years of top-level management experience in tech start-ups, including as CTO of Delivery Hero and VP for Click & Buy. It was during his stint at the former that led Martin to the world of esports in 2016 when he joined DOJO Madness, now Bayes Holding.
“One of the founders and investors in Delivery Hero created a company, DOJO Madness. One customer we provided data science services to was Sportradar who, at that time, was moving into the esports space and discovered just how different esports is from traditional sports. It’s faster and you cannot trade manually.
“They asked us to help, and we delivered the model and data science predictions. After a couple of years, Sportradar still felt that esports wasn’t fitting into their traditional workflows with tournaments on a weekly basis. In March 2019, we entered into a joint venture that marked the beginning of Bayes Esports.”
Bayes Esports’ proprietary global data platform, BEDEX, offers a range of official data coverage, serving high-profile clients such as Google and Bet365 with more than 10,000 live matches per year.
“Essentially, our remit was to take over the esports business of Sportradar and make it successful. As I learnt more about the betting industry, game publishers and tournament providers, I came up with the idea of BEDEX, a marketplace that enhances, optimises and segments data according to individual requirements.
“We built an ecosystem where we have the game publishers and tournament providers bring data to the platform, whilst on the demand side we have the betting industry, media and teams. Bringing all of this together in one platform solves the biggest problem: integration.
“There are companies who deliver live streaming with upwards of 30-40 integrations which is a nightmare to negotiate, deliver operationally, and maintain. BEDEX offers a single point of contact with all the relevant content in one integration. Then, everyone involved can focus on their core business.”
Riot Games and Bayes Esports recently teamed up to develop a first-of-its-kind centralised hub that will deliver competitive esports data sustainably to professional League of Legends Esports teams, Riot Games’ partners, and to the community.
The LoL Esports Data Portal will provide access to a wide variety of data to power teams, partners, and fan experiences, and will enable long-term growth for the wider esports community. Securing the exclusive distribution rights for LoL three years ago has served as a fundamental platform from which the tech start-up has built.
“We were the first company to sign such a deal and it has been extremely successful. This helped us to kickstart and substantialise. We worked hard to make it work,” says Martin. “We started with around 1,000 matches per year – now we are offering over 10,000 exclusively licensed live matches. Streamlining operational procedures and working with game publishers requires investment on all sides.
“It’s a feedback cycle that does more than create new revenue streams. Viewers leads to sponsors, sponsors create revenue, revenue pays the teams betting and professionalises the industry. This helps create a pathway from amateur to professional level and future-proofs esports.”
In May, Bayes Esports announced the closing of a financing round of €6m. After the Berlin tech start-up cracked the run rate of €10m last year, this figure is to be doubled in 2022. Interestingly, the main investor is the US-based preeminent developer and operator of integrated resorts, Las Vegas Sands.
Besides Sands, BITKRAFT Ventures is also involved in the financing round with its funding experts from the esports, gaming and sports industry.
As esports continues to grow, the complex ecosystem within the industry requires a collaborative and community driven approach which allows for partners to innovate and sell together. With the fresh money coming in, Bayes Esports is looking to double its strategic partnerships and investments in product development with the help of 25 new hires.
“Some of the money goes into product development. We want to add 25 employees to our current 50. We need to work on our sales and business departments, but a lot goes into engineering. We have many products in the pipeline, including an innovative content generation product for the betting industry,” explains Martin.
“We are in a pilot phase at the moment and have received fantastic feedback from all sides. All the teams participating in Riot Leagues have the opportunity to access our data to professionalise, train, scouting and build their own analytics tool.
“We continue to work with them on creating new features. We are still a small company with a broad product portfolio. Ultimately, we want to step up and fulfil our vision.”
Martin Dachselt is the CEO & Managing Director of Bayes Esports. Martin has over 20 years of top level management experience in tech startups. He served as CTO of Dojo Madness, Smartfrog and Delivery Hero, and as VP Operations for Click&Buy.