How esports leagues are using data visualisation to improve their broadcast experience

Storytelling is the most influential factor in content creation, with everything from features in newspapers to videos on YouTube playing a part in the narrative arc. The art of storytelling has changed drastically, with access to different forms of media, including the integration of data and statistics, offering new ways to enhance the viewing experience.

This is particularly true for sports broadcasting – and esports broadcasting is no different. The use of data overlays and statistics in esports broadcasts has changed the nature of the narrative. It allows casters to tell a more involved story and spectators to better understand the nuances and intricacies of each sport.

And now major companies are getting in on the action. According to a recent article on data visualisation from consumer insights agency Interpret, esports behemoth ESL “recently partnered with Shadow.GG to utilise detailed 2D mapping of gameplay and to provide viewers with real-time data on matches”. 

Similarly, Riot’s LEC (League of Legends European Championship) teamed with business solutions giant SAP to enable fans to see real-time player performance updates and statistics, including comparisons to historical data.

Imagine an instance where a new spectator turned on League of Legends. That user could quickly identify the additional value of a top laner in Summoner’s Rift. As the player deals progressive damage, that data would then be collected and displayed to the spectator for them to view how well the top laner is performing.

Visualisation is impacting viewership

Apart from the obvious merits of providing in-game statistics, which help spectators differentiate the best players from the rest, data visualisation techniques also help them understand the game itself.

Whether it is introducing cricket to a typical sports consumer in North America, or the NFL to their equivalent in Asia, educating users to a new sport is a tricky proposition. The advent of new, advanced media has been integral to providing an intricate perspective to sport, and this has now been extended to esports broadcasting too.

While there isn’t an abundance of data available since esports is still quite new, data collection techniques for almost every significant game, including Rocket League, Rainbow Six and Valorant, have emerged.

Sorting that data and then providing insightful information to spectators in the form of a storytelling narrative has helped spectators stay up to date during fast-paced games.

How does this benefit esports betting?

Esports betting, like any other sport, has its roots in numerical and historical data. If a team picks up four elemental dragons inside Summoner’s Rift, there is a high probability that the team will also destroy the other team’s base and win. If data can provide numerical probability to that scenario, it adds a tangible factor to esports betting.

In turn, this probability can then be applied to the dynamism and movement of esports betting odds. Data visualisation has helped educate not only the spectator but also the betting odds providers to understand how quickly markets need to be suspended. This is a way to maintain accurate probabilities within esports betting.

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