Esports is the next generation of audience engagement and entertainment modelling according to Richard Kidd, Head of Sales at Bayes Esports, as he explained why the industry must be prepared to embrace new opportunities.
Speaking to SBC News, Kidd walked us through his background in digital marketing and advertising technology, noting that his experiences from outside of the esports industry has helped him offer new and alternative perspectives on Bayes Esports’ development as a company.
SBC: Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about your background? How did you first become involved in the betting industry?
RK: The betting industry is, candidly speaking, new to me. Prior to joining Bayes in May of this year, I had been working in the digital marketing industry and advertising technology industry. My background is scaling technology companies, ensuring that the Go-To-Market strategy is set, ready to drive revenues to help grow the company.
Back in 1976, I had my very first video game. I was undoubtedly part of the first generation of gamers! I have worked with sports and video gaming event organisers and the world’s first video game hotel – but with Bayes Esports, this is all new territory, working with rights holders and betting companies together.
SBC: Looking at your LinkedIn, you’ve worked across a range of different industries, some of which are very different to betting and esports. What was your perception of betting from outside of the industry?
RK: From outside of the industry, the perception is very much one of classical betting – men with flat caps betting at greyhound tracks or on Saturday afternoons at the local bookmaker. I remember my grandfather running to his local bookie with his newspaper rolled up under his arm.
Now, betting on gaming? I knew this existed and I had also seen the rapid increase in esports during the past 18 months due to “real” sports being sidelined, yet the full potential of esports betting has only most recently become truly visible to me. Betting was a rather unknown area.
SBC: When it comes to selling within the betting industry, what would you say are the biggest challenges?
RK: I think the biggest challenge is raising the perceived value of esports within the betting industry. There are many larger global betting companies, yet esports is a rather small percentage of their total sportsbook. It is our job as experts to provide insights to tournaments, to be advisors on strategy, to work with rights holders and develop solid monetisation strategies for the future.
At the same time, by providing valid esports live data solutions to the betting companies with a tournament continuity, we help scale this industry and also ensure that the industry becomes validated and gains acceptance.
SBC: How do you think your experiences from the worlds of media, cinema and adtech have helped you in your role at Bayes Esports?
RK: Esports as an industry is young. It has the potential to learn from other industries, to develop commercial models to scale and to work with its audience to really achieve new goals. Wherever we look, we are faced with supply and demand.
My experience from other industries means quite simply that I am able to assess potential commercial models in a more neutral manner; I know what has worked well, I see potential within innovation and creativity – but whatever the model, you have to be able to engage your audience. It is that simple.
SBC: In your role, how are you making sure that you are setting the highest standards in developing standout technology for esports organisers, teams and media companies?
RK: Setting standards means knowing your market. At Bayes we have 60+ esports experts, which actually really helps me shape my communications and strategy. We have the basis to not only develop yet really drive how the industry thinks about and deals with live data: integrity is a huge priority, driving engagement, driving innovation and developing products and services that really hit the sweet spot for rights holders, teams and media companies. Audience, engagement and community will all help us develop and drive our industry forwards.
SBC: And finally, given that the last 18 months have arguably brought esports to the forefront of the industry’s minds, will this make esports an ‘easier sell’?
RK: The last 18 months have accelerated the growth of an industry that was already in the fast lane. An easier “sell” – no, it is not that simple. Media is developing and demands on innovation and audience engagement are growing. Old media models will not help us grow. We need to continually look at new opportunities for growth, with game developers and right holders and also at alternative, new monetisation models.
Looking to the future – no idea is a bad idea. We are here to develop the industry, Esports is the next generation of audience engagement and entertainment modelling. We need to embrace, develop and be prepared to hit the odd obstacle or two.
Ultimately, esports is next generation entertainment and a breeding ground for brands, game developers and technology solutions. There are exciting times ahead, of which I am 100% convinced.