E-sports organiser juggernaut ESL has today announced they'll be partnering with Sportradar (no relation to our friends/mortal enemies over at Gamesradar+) to help develop and secure the integrity of e-sports betting the world over. The way they put it, the growth of e-sports and e-sports betting is at such a stage that it's necessary, in the same way that anti-cheating mechanisms were needed in the 00s and anti-doping policies have had to be enacted in recent months.
Want the skinny on those anti-doping policies? Joel investigated.
Sportradar are "a global leader in understanding and leveraging the power of sports data" according to their site. Essentially they are the guys that media organisations go to for facts 'n' figures and bookies use to govern their odds. Because of that access, they also provide a number of other services, including helping sports organisations of all sorts protect against fraud and match-fixing when it comes to betting.
This is a good, necessary and overdue move. There have been quite a few high-profile match-fixing scandals related to betting in recent memory. South Korea's Brood War scene came face to face with it in 2010 when it turned out some of their highest profile players had been involved in self-betting and bribery by betting sites for more than a year. More recently, CSGO and League of Legends teams have been accused, even on as low a level as Steam's skin-betting sub-economy.
ESL CEO Ralf Reichert had this to say about the partnership:
"With an ever increasing volume of betting on esports competitions, expanding our anti-fraud initiative to also include match fixing, collusion and other activities related to illegal, underage and irresponsible betting, was the next logical step in our efforts to preserve and promote integrity across our many competitions."
While Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl said:
"Esports is without a doubt the fastest growing sport globally across all measurables: prize money, fan viewership, sponsorship revenue. On our part, we will be processing and delivering data in accordance with our industry-leading standards, ensuring that end users get the fastest, most accurate and most engaging data possible. I would also like to underline what Ralf said about integrity. The most exciting sport in the world will struggle without a clear focus and commitment towards integrity."
Good stuff, but I'm interested to see what tangibles this leads to for every day watchers like ourselves. More fantasy leagues with better and easier integration, is my hope. It's something I could see myself getting utterly lost in, given the right game. One summer in the late 00s already went down to fantasy Brood War Proleague.