Marek Suchar joins the show and talks about Oddin, the automated live esports provider, as well as how things are progressing in the esports industry.

Video from Marek Suchar Interview

Show notes from Marek Suchar Interview

Ryan Knuppel: All right, welcome back to another episode of The Knup Sports Show. I’m your host, Ryan Knuppel here with you each and every time. Thank you so much for giving us a little bit of time out of your day to join us and listen and learn about this exploding industry that is the igaming. Today we have another very special guest with us. Marek Suchar is with us from Oddin.gg. Mark, thanks for joining. 

Marek Suchar: Thanks for having me, Ryan. 

Ryan Knuppel: Yeah, no, I definitely appreciate it. I know we’ve had a few discussions in the past. And I really love what you guys are doing in the esports space. So excited to get into this show and hear a little bit about you and what Oddin is doing. So why don’t you start and give us a little bit of background about yourself and how you kind of get into the esports industry? 

Marek Suchar: Yeah, absolutely. Many thanks for the intro. I actually started in the financial industry, I spent almost a decade at Citibank. But then I moved into the esports, in a sense that I was a huge fan of esports. I follow Dota 2 before that, I play Starcraft a lot of games at that point in time. And I was looking at the entrance at how to actually enter eSports. And multiple verticals, of course, but not that many are already being profitable, or at least are quite ahead of the curve of being profitable. Because when you look at the tournaments, when you look at the organizers, when you look at teams, this is still sort of the business, there’s need to take a hold, and these are other investments. But the analytics, the betting part is already something that was already generating a lot of cash. 

So, we were thinking about potentially how to get into this angle. And we have started a company that pretty much focuses on eSports analytics. And one of the verticals that seems to be monetized the soonest was definitely providing this kind of stuff to betting operators. And here we are a couple of years later, and a couple of times dedicated to both the infrastructure that we have built and the partnerships we have built. And we are still sort of not at the very beginning. But we are still growing. And there is a quite nice way ahead of us. In terms of the things that can be done in esports. And specifically, in esports betting. 

Ryan Knuppel: Yeah, well, congrats, first of all, on the success and getting to where you are today. And I can only imagine, I even think the esports industry is at its infancy. You know, it’s just getting started. Really, I think there’s a long way to go for that entire industry. I can only imagine the analytics, betting analytics, specifically around esports are just starting. So, tell me a little bit about who, you worked with a lot of the betting operators, are you working in different countries? What kind of countries are you targeting? What type of operators are you working with? 

Marek Suchar: We’ve started our focus on the infrastructure in the last couple of 18 months. So we’ve been actively selling for six to 12 months but we are already integrated. For example, in scientific games, for which we are targeting the global tier one operators either in the US or based in the UK. So, we are discussing with them the different perspective that we are bringing to the market and the different vision that we have. We are also integrated with some European bookmakers already. We are looking and we have actually recently signed and it is still confidential but we are signing one of the largest players in CIA agents. 

So, this will be announced soon. And they’ve been looking at our platform and our odds for roughly or last six months. And they’ve seen the value. So, it was just a matter of time till we started cooperation. And there are more things ahead of us because there’s another huge partner, well known partner from the US that we are speaking to. But we are already selected as the preferred esport solution. We are just getting down the road in terms of getting on the roadmap and signing the commercials and all these sort of things. So, there’s a lot of friction, there is a huge appetite for the right solutions from Asia as well. So, I would say right now, there is a lot of demand for the right kind of solutions, because so far we can get into the details. The esports betting as an offering is extremely weak. We met many of the bookmakers with many other providers, and we asked to begin with a different proposition, which is much more engaging and brings much more volume and eventually profitability to the bookmakers. 

Ryan Knuppel: I wanted to touch on it a little bit because maybe for some people that are listening, aren’t overly familiar with esports or esports betting. When we think of regular sports betting we think of. I can bet on the spread. I can bet on the money line. I can bet on the over under. I can bet some live stuff and things like that. Now, with esports it is a whole another set, I guess I’ll call it data points that you can bet on. Explain to me a little bit about what I mean, there’s matchwinner and map winners, duration over/under, and all sorts of different things that go into betting on esports. Can you explain a little bit about those offerings? Is it live betting? Is there like pre match betting, like we would think of in the real sports world? 

Marek Suchar: Absolutely, the dynamics is definitely in favor of live betting, 80 to 90% of the volume goes to live betting. At the same time, live betting is actually extremely challenging when it comes to esports because you need to have the right expertise, the right access to data, the right set of experience participants, and all these things, and it needs to be combined. Otherwise, we will be lacking one of the one of the key competencies within it. With that being said, what we see on the market is that if you are better and if you want to bet on esports, many of the bookmakers that you will go to, and they will have a standardized solution, you can bet roughly half of the game. So, as the game is being played, you can bet the first let’s say 10 – 20 minutes. And then as the game is being unfold as there are those storylines, that the team is either coming back, or it’s actually going to win, but there is a comeback, you suddenly good and bad. The reason for that is that many of the operators do not have access to official data, they do not have the expertise to actually provide the lines in the late games, such as complicated games such as Dota 2 or League of Legends. So many times, what do you see on the market is (inaudible)…And suddenly when something is finally getting different, and he wants to put some money on the line, his opinion was about to happen. He can bet at all. And this is a huge limitation. (Inaudible)

But this is a huge pitfall of the industry that it is currently facing. Because if you think about esports fans, they are mostly millennials, and they are used to the content on demand. They are the masters of their own time. Because if they want to listen to music, they go to Spotify. If they want to watch the movie, they go to Netflix, they don’t wait, this is what I want, this is what I get. Then you go to twitch, you can pretty much watch any esports title you want any tournament you want for free. But then if you want to bet in the late game, you can because the lines are not there, the lines are not open, we are changing that the way that we are able to close the lines almost all the time. And also we are bringing and sorry, right now I’m coming back to original question here, we are providing the life of not only for the match winner or series winner, we are providing the odds also for example, in Counter Strike, which is extremely fast paced, you can bet on the next round winner, you can bet on exact score, you can bet on second half. So, the first half somebody who actually won. 

But the second half can be different, eventually, the team can lose what they would want in the second half. So, there are various things that you can bet on. In titles like Dota 2 or League, there are specific markers, when you have a specific either buildings or creatures that you can bet whether it would be who would take a certain kill at a certain time, who would kill a certain building first. And these sort of things. And as you mentioned, all of these are just getting started. Because there is more to come for esports for sure. One of that being that esports is extremely specific to standards, because the way that the data is an essential part of esports, although they’re displayed in the virtual world on servers. So, you can get pretty much any data from the server movement, itemization or aiming direction, number of shots, pretty much anything. Well, if you think about esports, I would about sports, I will use the comparison of IOD’s. So the players would have a certain tracking devices of the bodies, there would be a certain heartbeat, level with direction and all these things. We don’t have them yet. That being said, we can have that for the future. But eSports is already there when it comes to data richness. And when it comes to what is actually available for the game everything in the game. 

Ryan Knuppel: Thank you for that answer. That was a very in depth answer. And I think it shed some light into your world and how much really goes into all these different data points and things like that. There’s just so much that you can capture in this space. I can imagine just being challenges after challenges that come up. So that leads me into my next question. What something I always ask business people like yourself that are in business. What’s one of the challenges maybe that you have maybe more on a business side of things, potentially somebody listening here, we have a lot of business people a lot of people in the igaming space, that maybe could potentially help or business challenges that you’re running into or maybe have run into in the past? I’m curious to hear your answer on that. 

Marek Suchar: That’s an extremely good question. When it comes to standard bookmakers for them, the key question esports is that as the pandemic hit in March, April this year, many of them are looking at esports as one of the very few sports that actually was able to provide the content. Then there was the rise of sporting simulators, there was a rise of other form of esports is content. But at the same time, what I’m seeing with many of the parties we are speaking to, if they are a sports oriented already, they understand the value of esports for the brand, for the generations of the they are able to target for the youngest generations they are able to target and they understand the value also from the volume and profit perspective. But at the same time, if you want to move into eeports, and you are close to doing it as an investment, and you are looking at your sports book the way that is okay, where’s my esports now? This is not the right approach, because if you are looking at it this way, you are actually missing out because millennials wouldn’t come without you either having a reasonable market expanding, or activity. It doesn’t need to be about spending, it can be about doing the stuff right and a reasonable solution. If you are just targeting a general audience, the millennials can come to the esports and trigger operators to the standard bookmakers like Betway who are doing marketing great. They cooperate with the organizers, they cooperate with the teams. They will for sure come there because they see that those brands are already in the world. They do communicate to them and they spent the time with them. On the contrary, if you are a standard bookmaker and if you ask me about esports, the way that it’s already small in my business portfolio, the volume is small, why should I invest? This is not the way because this is the problem. If you don’t invest, they will not come, you wouldn’t be missing out. So,I guess this is one of the things that we are trying to educate the market about, you should either want to do it or don’t do it. But if you don’t do it, be prepared for the stage where eventually you will be run over by the others that will do the investment. The pandemic was actually lost opportunities for couple of them because they were rather focusing on sporting simulators and targeting the already existing audience of standard sports, instead of moving into the esports as well and targeting the younger generation that would definitely go after Dota League and CS Go  and this way, achieving two things, bringing the new blood to the sports book and also potential opportunities of cross sale of these punters the sports book proposition itself.

Ryan Knuppel: Very nice answer, one other question. What does Oddin have to look forward to? Like, I know you guys are just down your path you’re trying to get into operators and things of that. But maybe what’s something in the future? Is there something you guys are working on that you’re developing? Or is it just business as usual? Like we’ve been talking about, is there anything specific you can talk about to your future? 

Marek Suchar: Absolutely. We are already ahead of the market when it comes to what we are capable of because we have built our own infrastructure. It is esport centric, it is built on greenfield so we are our masters when it comes to data collection modeling once calculation to the entire experience to the betters in terms of odds. Nevertheless, we understand that thinking is the right proposition in terms of odds, as I mentioned, how much because of the course of the game you can bet, how many live markets you can actually bet on. But at the same time, if you probably push this to old looking bookmakers that are sort of more perceived as the old guys, even then they would have the right solution, they might not be that engaging for the millennials. So, one more thing we are already working on is a sort of iframe solution that we will be able to peg the entire proposition together. So, having the front end, having the streaming there, having the statistics, having the live odds, controlling the entire ecosystem, and of course, improving upon that. We are also looking at various ways of gamification, in terms of tokenization. So, but not in crypto, there are too many things in that direction already. We are out of looking at it from the terms of if you come to the platform as such, you want to watch, you want to engage, you want to learn the stuff in terms of statistics. 

And eventually we’ll bet. Right now, the perception is I’m going to William Hill, Sky Bet, Betway you name it, I’m going to bet. We are thinking about it the other way that this will be a content where you can come, come and go. You don’t necessarily have to be registered, you would be able to enjoy the platform because of the richness of the data richness of the content that is there. And eventually if you want, you can bet. With that being said, one of the other things that we are targeting is that as I mentioned in March/April, there was a lack of the content. And we are launching 24 /7 Counter Strike betting stream, which will be run pretty much all the time, we have the right partner for it, who provides us the data. And this way we can provide the content all the time, which means that instead of going to Twitch and watching the streams, you can go to the bookmaker, and you can watch the live action there. And eventually you can bet, the advantage of that is that the perception changes. The bookmakers would become the main point for the content, not necessarily the other media. And these where you are targeting them to come to bet to actually enjoy what you are having. And in that sense as well … has gone Counter Strike is one of the easiest to understand esports titles for the general public. So when there​ was no content, and people are betting on table tennis similarly, they can bet and understand CS Go grown up because it’s about five people​ shooting the other five people. Of course, it has what the esports fans understood. But at the same time, the general public can come watch and eventually learn on the back of the title. But they can enjoy watching these kinds of shows. 

Ryan Knuppel: Amazing, Marek Suchar of Oddin this has been amazing. I think you’ve nailed it. You’ve talked about everything I can think of in this space. I don’t want to keep you. I know you have tons of things going on. You’re a busy man. Give us one last thing, anything, any last words for the audience? Anything that you maybe didn’t touch on that you want to want to say before we get out of here?  

Marek Suchar: A lot of things just crossed my mind, I would say similar to esports out of people that do understand what they are speaking about. There are a lot of things, people that just want to jump on the wave of esports, and particularly esports betting. So, it would be good to actually if you want to get into the esports it would be good to understand whether the people you are speaking to actually know the stuff, whether they are actually being truthful to you. And by these ways to like the right partners, because in the long run, you can actually be sorry about your decisions that were probably done too harshly in such a short timeframe because of the all the is going on. So choose your partner wisely, this will be the key part of the esports betting partnership selection. 

Ryan Knuppel: I mean, that’s great advice across the board. And anything you do right, choose who you work with. Because you know it can be a good or a bad experience depending on who you choose to work with. So definitely spend the time. So, if people wanted to work with you, or just had follow up questions for you guys who would they contact? How would they get a hold of you? What’s the channel of communication there for you guys? 

Marek Suchar: Yes. You can visit Oddin.gg and send the email to [email protected], or potentially we can catch up on LinkedIn, I’m there as well. Marek Suchar, happy to connect with pretty much anybody meaningful within the system. 

Ryan Knuppel: Awesome. Mark. Well, I truly appreciate you being here. Give me a little bit of your time and everybody listening, thank you. This is Marek Suchar of Oddin. Definitely I think you guys can tell from listening to this interview, one of the leaders in the esports analytics space really knows his stuff. And I can vouch very good to work with as well. So, I’ve enjoyed getting to know you over the years here, Mark. So, looking forward to more interaction as we move forward in this eSports industry. 

Marek Suchar: Pleasure to be here. Many thanks for having me. It’ll be great to catch up soon. 

Ryan Knuppel: Awesome. Amazing. Thanks for being here. Again. Thanks for listening. Everybody. Stay safe. Until next time, have a great day. Bye-bye.

 

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