Midnite, the London-based esports betting startup, has raised just over $2.5 million in funding. The “strategic” investment is led by gaming-focused venture firm Makers Fund.
Previous investors in Midnite include London VC firm Venrex Investment Management, as well as unnamed “founders and executives” from leading gaming companies, including Betfair and GVC. The new round brings the total raised by the 2016-founded company to around $4.5 million.
“The esports market is seeing rapid year-on-year growth and we believe that betting represents the single biggest opportunity in this space. Wagering on esports is expected to exceed $12 billion by the end of 2020, making betting already one of the fastest growing verticals within esports,” Midnite co-founder Nick Wright said.
However, despite the size of opportunity, Wright says that for most big sports betting sites, esports is “just another tab” in their legacy sports betting offering, but that esports fans are not simply just another type of sports fan. “They are an entirely new customer category and deserve a platform tailored to them,” he says. “This is why Midnite exists.”
With that in mind, Wright pitches Midnite as an “entertainment platform” that provides an immersive experience for esports fans. He says fans get the thrill of watching, analysing and betting on their favourite teams and players as they face off in tournaments around the world.
“What makes esports differ from other sports is the constant action and its highly dynamic nature. This is conducive to a variety of live betting opportunities that you can seldom find in real sports. Users can bet on your standard match winners and losers, but they can also bet on unique selections such as next kill or next objective achieved while matches are in-play,” Midnite co-founder said.
“In the past, betting on esports has been carried out by unregulated operators, which meant that the unregulated market was several times bigger than the regulated market. Many operators offering esports betting would not be licensed, were not taking responsible gambling seriously or even performing age verification checks. This meant customers want to bet on esports were often placing themselves at risk. We are creating a safe and responsible environment for these fans. Customer safety is our top priority and we are taking it very seriously. We are doing everything by the book to ensure our community is safeguarded and are compliant with all the regulations in markets where we are operational,” he added.
Riot Games Announces VALORANT Esports EMEA Partnership With Unilumin
With the start of the 2024 competitive VALORANT Esports season now underway, we’re proud to announce our partnership with Unilumin, a world leading LED display solution provider!
Unilumin has been instrumental in helping us level up the fan experience at the all-new Riot Games Arena with their industry-leading LED display technology, of which 250 square meters will now feature across the Riot Games Arena in Berlin. We’re so excited to welcome them on board as an official supplier for VCT EMEA, VALORANT Game Changers EMEA, and VALORANT Ascension EMEA.
Unilumin’s screens will light up the stage at the Berlin arena – and their logo will feature across various VALORANT Esports EMEA broadcasts throughout 2024. They’ve supplied display solutions globally from Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium to the Mercedes-Benz Arena, a mere stone’s throw away from us at the Riot Games Arena in Berlin. They’ve also worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment venues and global sports stadiums to illuminate events across the globe with grandstand, perimeter, and centerhung screens alongside scoreboards in major competition venues.
As we continue to level up the fan experience throughout 2024, we know Unilumin is the perfect partner to help us bring the most immersive experience and exciting atmosphere to the Riot Games Arena in Berlin, for our fans.
“Unilumin Sports is pleased to bring our solutions and technologies to the Riot Games Arena in Berlin and be a partner of VALORANT Esports in EMEA”, said Oscar Feng, the Global Director of Unilumin Sports. “We will use our well-designed products and fast response services to cooperate with Riot Games for their events and show the ultimate audio-visual experience to their fans.”
“After working with Unilumin for the refit of the Riot Games Arena, we’re delighted to welcome them as a supplier for our various VALORANT Esports EMEA events in 2024,” said Daniel Ringland, Head of VALORANT Esports EMEA. “Unilumin has helped us enhance the fan experience for those watching from home and joining us on-site, and we can’t wait to use their display technology throughout the season.”
Tundra Esports Announces Addition of Ludwig ‘Zai’ Wahlberg as Dota 2 General Manager to the Team
The veteran offlaner and captain will serve as the cornerstone for Tundra Esports’ Performance Management Team
Tundra Esports is delighted to announce the addition of Ludwig ‘Zai’ Wahlberg to its Dota 2 Performance Management Team, taking on the role of General Manager.
A household name in the competitive scene to both fans and peers alike, Wahlberg brings over tens years of experience, numerous championships and four top-three finishes at The International to the Tundra Esports tribe. Alongside his impressive tenures on some of the highest profile rosters in Dota’s history, he retains the impressive record of a 66.6% win rate across his 2,000+ game career; the highest of all pro Dota players*. For someone with such an intimate relationship with success in Dota 2, Wahlberg is expected to bring about a new level of excellence to the team’s management style and gameplay.
*With more than 200 pro matches played
Wahlberg’s addition further cements Tundra Esports’ commitment to growing and evolving its performance management team and the move marks a significant milestone for the organisation’s continued journey towards competitive success in the world of Dota 2.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Ludwig ‘Zai’ Wahlberg to Tundra Esports as the Dota 2 General Manager and support his journey into management after his illustrious playing career,” the co-founder and Esports Director for Tundra Esports, Anthony Graham, said. “We are doubling down on our approach to Dota and I don’t think there is a better person to lead our Dota operations going forward than Wahlberg.”
Wahlberg joins the already star-studded 2024 Tundra Esports Dota roster, consisting of:
1 – Ivan ‘Pure-‘ Moskalenko
2 – Topias ‘Topson’ Taavitsainen
3 – Ivan ‘MinD_ContRoL’ Ivanov
4 – Edgar ‘9Class’ Naltakian
5 – Matthew ‘Whitemon’ Filemon
“After an extensive break from the game, I’m very excited to be involved with Dota again but in a different capacity,” Wahlberg said. “I’m looking forward to stepping into a new role as General Manager for Tundra Esports and to use my previous experiences and insights as a player to manage and influence its Dota division.”
Fans will get to witness his impact on the team’s performance first-hand in its upcoming match against The International 12 champions Team Spirit this Sunday at DreamLeague Season 22.
Esports to Beat Football? SOFTSWISS Shares Sports Betting Trends for 2024
Esports is raising its position among top sports by bets in 2023. The product team of the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook, a top sports betting software provider, reflects on the past year.
Esports Unstoppable Rise
Over the past three years, the top three sports by bets remain unchanged, with football, tennis and basketball maintaining their leadership. In contrast, esports has demonstrated a consistent upward trend, progressing from the seventh position in 2021 to the fourth in 2023. Notably, Counter-Strike stands out, claiming the sixth position among the top ten disciplines by the number of bets.
Alexander Kamenetskyi, Head of SOFTSWISS Sportsbook, comments: “Considering the rise of esports, we guide our partners to focus on cyber disciplines, engaging audiences beyond traditional betting demographics. Highlighting the cybersports potential for operators, Newzoo’s report projects 640 million viewers by 2025.”
Mobiles Drive 92% of Operator GGR
Another notable trend in sports betting, which has remained unchanged for several years, is the consistent growth in bets made from mobile devices. According to the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook, 80% of bets in 2023 were placed via mobile versus 70% in 2022 and 68% in 2021. This trend solidifies as players increasingly opt for mobile convenience, especially in live betting scenarios. More importantly, it was mobile devices that contributed 92% to the operators’ GGR.
Kamenetskyi adds: “Mobile betting is one of our main focuses in product development. We put much effort into improving our mobile application and mobile website. It is specifically important for locations facing challenges with internet connectivity and regions like LatAm and Africa where internet coverage is still growing.”
Casino Turnover Drops During Major Sports Events
The SOFTSWISS Sportsbook team has repeatedly emphasised shifts in player behaviour around major sports events. Specifically, there was a 10–20% drop in online casino turnover, coinciding with the World Cup 2022. This highlights a dynamic wherein a significant portion of casino players redirect their focus towards sports betting based on seasonal patterns. Considering audience preferences, reinforcing casinos with sportsbooks is a logical step.
Kamenetskyi adds: “This pattern underscores the strategic imperative for iGaming stakeholders to recognise the synergistic relationship between casino ventures and sportsbooks. Combining these options not only enhances casino appeal but also maintains player engagement, especially during sports events. In this context, it is worth mentioning that the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook is compatible with any casino platform on the market.”
Additionally, the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook team notes the strengthening of other trends like regulation and responsible gambling that have recently been highlighted in the iGaming Trends 2024 report by SOFTSWISS. The SOFTSWISS Sportsbook team will be glad to discuss all learnings during the first SBC Summit Rio at the stand D360.
SOFTSWISS is an international tech company supplying software solutions for managing iGaming projects. The expert team, which counts over 2,000 employees, is based in Malta, Poland and Georgia. SOFTSWISS holds a number of gaming licences and provides one-stop-shop iGaming software solutions. The company has a vast product portfolio, including the Online Casino Platform, the Game Aggregator with thousands of casino games, the Affilka affiliate platform, the Sportsbook Platform and the Jackpot Aggregator. In 2013, SOFTSWISS was the first in the world to introduce a Bitcoin-optimised online casino solution.
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