The Formula One eSports Series first appeared on the gaming scene in 2017 and, comparatively speaking, it was a latecomer to the eSports party. In fact, if we wanted to split hairs, we could say that F1 was 45 years late given that the first eSports competition took place in 1972, but that may be being a touch unfair. The craze really took off between 2011 and 2013, which means that F1 was really only around five years late. So, has it been a success?
All things considered, you would have to say that it certainly has and a crucial reason for this is because F1 actively promotes the competition. Indeed, the sport’s governing body has adopted a very hands-on approach and tellingly, they release highlights of their eSports races on their main social media channels. In other words, they’re extremely proud of their eSports product and, with their numbers, it’s no surprise.
Growth-wise, during the inaugural competition in 2017, F1 eSports attracted in the region of 60,000 competitors, which today has risen to just short of half a million. Furthermore, viewers from 123 countries tuned in, and the 2021 event ended up generating over 50 million impressions on social media. It has been an impressive rise for F1 eSports, which has resulted in the prize money on offer being eventually increased to £750,000 from half a million.
It goes without saying, but the financial aspect of eSports is a huge part of what makes it a successful global phenomenon. The whopping money pot provides a crucial sense of jeopardy that would otherwise be missing. With this being the case, one of the initial complaints levelled against F1 eSports was that, for all the money that the industry has, the payout for their eSports competition was relatively small. To understand this a bit better, it’s important that you take into account that FIFA’s eSports prize money is well over £4 million. Steps are, however, being taken in the right direction to address this.
Moving on from prize money: you can now also bet on the outcome of an eSports F1 race, which has further increased engagement to unprecedented levels. Indeed, the amount of new customers signing up in order to bet on the F1 eSports Series has been telling, although perhaps it could be argued that this interest is a testament to the lucrative nature of new players’ bonuses on top-rated online betting sites. If a similar model was followed to that of what the online casinos are offering their new clients in the form of a no deposit bonus, which essentially allows players to try games offered by the casino without first depositing any real money, then there very well may be more punters willing to test the waters of F1 eSports betting. Enticing custom with freebies on the betting market will surely help F1 eSports to grow exponentially and to stand shoulder to shoulder with other established eSports contenders.
At the end of the day, little tweaks like these are likely to have a very significant effect going forward as the online eSports betting market is there for the taking. The secret is out and people seemingly can’t get enough, so the battle now is to convert that engagement into new and long-term customers. Admittedly, these are only minor changes that could help increase the F1 eSports Series product, which generally speaking has to be said, is world-class.