What is Esports Data & How to Use It

Learn everything about Esports. Understand data sources, popular use cases, and data quality.

Whether it’s in terms of viewership or revenue, the esports industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years. Multi-million dollar prizes draw millions of fans from all across the globe, and this viewership leads to massive sponsorship deals from brands looking to reach a broad and engaged audience.

But what exactly is esports, and how and why is esports data becoming increasingly valuable?

What is Esports data?

Esports is the name of the competitive gaming space that is viewed online by millions around the globe and which features enormous prize winnings: the 2017 International Dota 2 Championships had a prize pool of $24 million alone. Some popular games include League of Legends (3.9 million viewers), Fortnite (2.3 million viewers), Dota 2 (2 million viewers), CS:GO (2 million viewers), and PUBG (1.2 million viewers).

Watching esports is similar to watching a traditional sporting match, like a game of soccer, but instead of viewing people play in the real world, the audience watches players compete against each other in virtual online video games.

But just like with traditional sports, esports produces a lot of data that can be used to analyse, predict, and improve gameplay. This information can also be used for out-of-game purposes such as betting and marketing.

Read on to find out how esports data is having a substantial impact on both the gaming and marketing worlds.

What is esports data?

Esports refers to professionally organized video game competitions that are streamed to thousands, if not millions, of viewers online. The data collected from these competitions is esports data, and this includes factors like the participants, viewership numbers, results, and player-specific statistics.

Like with traditional sports, data analysts can collect data for esports from matches to help players improve their performance and to allow the viewers to know more about how teams are performing. This allows for the viewers to become more engaged with the game, thereby creating a large audience for brand deals and easily targeted marketing, as well as betting.

What are the attributes of esports data?

The common attributes of esports data can be separated into two categories: data from the players and data from the viewers. Data from the players can include attributes like the teams involved, individual player scores, and the match results. Data from the views can include attributes like the total viewership, where and via which channel these viewers are watching, and, potentially, any bets being made.

Here is a list of many of the common esports data attributes on both the player and viewer side:

Player Attributes

Teams and Players – Various providers give information about the players and the complete team. They can also provide the information with their previous or upcoming matches or tournaments and even their performance.

Historical tournaments – Some data providers analyze the previous performances of players or the team and provide pre-match data based on those performances.

Player engagement statistics – The historical performance can also guide you in identifying the engagement rate of each player in the respective match or the tournament. Apart from that, you will also be provided with the individual engagement rate by the data provider. This includes their scores and outcome of each match they had participated in.

Upcoming tournaments – You can be provided with the data of the forthcoming matches by the data provider. This can help you in marketing your business accordingly.

Live score – Some providers aim at providing live data to the seekers. Either they offer a live stream or provide the replay of the whole event and allow you to revisit the complete match.

Viewer Attributes

Game popularity – From market reports and forecasts, you will be provided with information about the specific game ranking. As you know the popularity of the game, it will help you in your business.

Number of viewers – This is simply how many people are watching a specific esports match at a time, and how many have tuned in to the tournament as a whole.

Location and source of viewers – As well as the amount of viewers, it can also be possible to know the channels they are using to watch the match (e.g. the game’s website or steaming services like Twitch). The country from which an audience member is viewing is also often possible to find out.

Bets – If done through certain channels, it can be possible to discover where, when, and in what context bets were made on the esports matches, much like in traditional sports.

How is esports data collected?

Like with the data attributes, esports data can be collected from two sides: the players and the viewers. Let’s take a look at some of the different sources through which data is collected from these sides:

Players (collected from game servers) - Data collected regarding the teams and individuals tends to come from the games themselves. The teams and players’ performances are stored by the game’s servers and this can be collected and aggregated for analysis.

Researchers may also perform interviews with the target groups for developing reports and forecasts regarding esports data.

Agreements with organizers – Most of the data is collected through game servers that come with reporting features. Data providers need to get agreement from the tournament organizers for the collection of the data. While getting agreements they can also be provided with the tournament schedules so that they can plan accordingly.

SDKs (software development kits) – Data collectors collect the raw data from the software development kits that are part of the software for a game and the pc used to play it. SDK’s have a tracking mechanism that measures customer engagement in that particular game, team, or tournament.

Viewers (collected from streaming sites/bets) - Viewers are the other strong sources for data collection. The fans of the particular esports, watch the game more carefully and notice every vital information about the game. Especially the ones who bet on the games. Data can also be collected from the game developers as they also notice the games very carefully.

How to assess and ensure quality for esports data?

For esports data, the factors you need to check for are accuracy, relevancy, consistency, and both live and historical coverage, and Whether you are collecting data for designing new esports, promoting games or brands, betting, or any other purpose, quality is the key to achieve success in your business.

Some esports data APIs only cover high-ranking matches, while others provide a feed for a vast range of games and events. If you are looking for esports data, analyze whether the particular API is providing you with the required information.

Here are the different factors that can affect quality when it comes to esports data:

Accuracy – Accuracy is always an important component in terms of high-quality data. But for assuring accuracy, the esports data also need to be consistent and unambiguous. The accuracy depends on how well the collected data relate to the real-time esports tournaments. The higher the accuracy, the more correct your decisions and thus profits in your business. Inaccuracy in data can only lead to wrong conclusions.

This indicates how vital it is to collect accurate data. Despite taking proper measures, the likelihood of human errors or inaccuracy persists. So, implementing specific measures like using the right software or the API is necessary.

Relevancy – Along with accuracy, the collected data should meet the requirements of the individual businesses. Even if you have collected the data of exceptionally high quality, it won’t be useful if it is not relevant to your business goals. For ensuring that you are receiving the right and relevant Esports data, it would be beneficial if you set some objectives.

Consistency – Consistency in esports data means that the data is always formatted and presented in the same way for each game. This is vital if you are to get an understanding of the trends across the game as a whole, which can then inform how you would like to enter and proceed in the esports market.

Live coverage – It is important that any data you’re looking to source can be provided in real time so that you can stay up to date with live match and tournament scores. This can help as you may have different strategies for reaching out to your audience depending on how different teams perform.

Historical coverage – Equally as important as ensuring live coverage is making sure that you also have access to historical esports data that covers the prior performance of the teams and players involved in the tournament. Again, just like with traditional sports, prior performance is often a good indicator of future performance, so this can help with deciding which teams to get a brand deal with and how you might try to market accordingly.

What are the use cases for esports data?

Esports data is used by game developers, marketing teams, betting sites, and of course the esports players themselves.

Because there is such a huge fan following in the esports world, collecting a massive amount of valid and accurate data would be worth the effort. As with the traditional sports, winning is not only based on dedication, skills, and luck. Brushing game strategies after analyzing past performances is necessary.

All this can be done after the collection of valid data. The same holds for esports too. So, data collection and analytics turn out to be economically relevant for esports. Various brands look for esports data to leverage the information for boosting their business.

Some of the people who use esports data in their business are:

Betting sites to analyze the team’s strategies and predict the next move for betting on the right team.

Game developers to make informed decisions by planning and developing the right games that gain popularity.

Sales and marketing teams to market the right games among the right age groups.

Professional esports players to analyze the opponent’s moves and strategies for increasing their winning chances.

What are the challenges with esports data?

As you have read various benefits of esports data, getting the right esports data is equally challenging.

Some of the challenges linked with acquiring and using esports data are:

Finding the right data provider – While buying the esports data, finding the best provider that fits your requirements and budget is the main challenge. During your research, you will find various offers under different pricing models.

Some make you available with real-time data and provide extensive coverage. While some give you a chance to do filtered research to get specific results. There are some API’s that are specially for developers, whereas some provide better information to people in the betting world.

Analyze the different parameters and select the ones that fit best to your requirements.

Data sources – The quality and accuracy of the data depends more on the sources used by the providers to collect data. Do thorough research on how the providers are collecting the data. Shortlist the ones that fit into your set criteria and have the features you’re looking for.

What to ask your esports data provider?

Before confirming the respective esports data provider, you need to assure that you are going with the right provider. You need to check out whether they will cover all the requirements necessary for your business.

Here are some of the questions that ensure you are to the right provider:

Do they cover your games?
It is necessary to know that your selected provider is covering your preferred game and can provide you with accurate and real-time data for your use case.

What is the delay in live esports match data?
Various esports data providers give you access to the live esports whereas some offer you with a little delay. Betting operators usually delay the live esports data to eliminate potential cheating. However, as per your requirement, check once the delay in the live match data. See to it, whether that delay is suitable for the business or not.

How do they retain historical data?
Historical data in esports is required to understand the ongoing changes in the popular trends or strategies in esports. This makes it necessary for you to check with the provider about the retention rate for historical data.

What integrations do they provide with esports organizations?
Based on your data usage, checking for integrations with your data provider is also vital.

These are some of the questions that you can ask from your data provider. Your questions can vary, depending on your usage of esports data. But make sure you clear all your doubts before going with the particular data provider.

How is esports data priced?

Most esports data providers will offer pricing dependent on the features you are asking for. This makes it easy for you to look for your required features in the given plans and subscribe accordingly. However, some providers only provide this information when a buyer requests it, so if in doubt, ask.

The three standard models are:

Monthly subscriptions – In this pricing model, you will pay an amount per month. It can be a flat rate or the amount of your subscribed games. Depending on your data provider, you can pay this amount monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

Tiered pricing – Here, you will be charged on the basis of the features and retention period for historical data of that plan.

Custom quotes – Some providers allow you to configure your plan as per your requirements, and you will be charged accordingly. The complete price of the program depends on your unique needs of esports data.

Conclusion

The world of esports data looks only to be growing larger, and all sorts of companies, from energy drinks to clothing lines are realizing the potential benefits to be gained by entering the esports market.

Be sure to check out the top esports data providers on Datarade to begin your search for the right esports data for you.

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