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Roundtable Discussion: The Making Of Rivalry’s ‘Same Game Combos’


Roundtable Discussion: The Making Of Rivalry’s ‘Same Game Combos’
Roundtable Discussion: The Making Of Rivalry’s ‘Same Game Combos’

In this roundtable discussion, Antoine Vallespir and David Trehondart of PandaScore and Rivalry’s Evan Van Luven dig into the process of making Rivalry’s ‘Same Game Combos’ for esports – a key milestone in the product roadmap of both parties.


Same-game parlay betting has taken the North American sports betting market by storm. Keen to capture this surge of popularity, suppliers across the sports and esports sector have been building ‘betbuilder’ products.


French esports data supplier PandaScore has been at the forefront of developing an esports-specific betbuilder product, tailored for esports fans who want more out of their betting experiences.


For Toronto-based operator Rivalry – which has built a robust esports-first customer base – rolling out its form of same-game parlays was the next logical step in building a sportsbook specifically for the Millennial and Gen Z audience.


Surveying the field of esports data and odds suppliers, Rivalry elected to work with Paris- based PandaScore to develop its own proprietary version of the feature, Same Game Combos, for its big brain user base. For PandaScore, it was an opportunity to roll out its betbuilder product with the perfect audience – esports fans and the 20-30 demographic that is the future of the whole betting industry.


Aligned on esports and product development

For Evan Van Luven, Rivalry’s Director, Sportsbook Operations, offering a same-game parlay experience was a no-brainer, “we were looking around the neighbourhood and saw that same-game parlays had taken off for traditional sports and there’s been tons of feedback from operators and end users.


“We were confident that esports bettors would lend themselves to this feature really well, arguably better than sports.”


The key factor was finding a supplier that fit into Rivalry’s vision and way of working. The operator selected PandaScore, Evan noting that both parties “view building products very similarly, with a focus on innovation and ultimately building cool stuff,” he said. “PandaScore were very open to collaborating on this feature in a flexible and agile way, rather than offering us a box of products and saying ‘here you go.’”


For PandaScore’s Product Manager (Odds), Antoine Vallespir, this was very much a shared vision that made for a fruitful collaboration, “development was very smooth. Rivalry lives and breathes esports as well as what the next generation of bettors want. This made creating a great end-to-end product quite successful, easy and fun.”


A betbuilder for big brain bettors

Much of the research conducted by Rivalry found several shortcomings with other same- game parlay products: they weren’t always user-friendly, it was unclear which matches offered parlay bets versus which didn’t, and often the markets available within those matches wasn’t consistent.


“Make it super easy to use is a core ethos of ours,” Evan noted, “we wanted to make it super clear and intuitive for our users which matches had Same Game Combos available.”


When it came to integration, the process itself was quite smooth, PandaScore Head of Customer Success David Trehondart commenting that “as soon as we started we were working hand-in-hand – everyone involved was agile, reactive and committed to delivering a great product.”


Antoine spoke similarly: “This collaboration was unique in that Rivalry wasn’t necessarily integrating our markets, but the capabilities of our betbuilder alongside another supplier’s product. From a technical perspective, the collaborative relationship meant that both sides could learn quickly, which made everything easy.”


“There’s always an element of learning, but the integration itself was easy,” Evan highlighted. “The main challenge for Rivalry was figuring out the business logic of how Same Game Combos work – the simplicity of use was very important for us. We always try to find ways to make things more interesting and different, not just for the sake of it, but because it makes for more enjoyable betting experiences.”


Together, both parties created a dynamic pricing model – where the total prices and odds are updated and the user can see how the total shifts with their choices. Presenting Same Game Combos this way was a difference maker, as quite often bettors will use their bet slip like a shopping cart, chopping and changing many times before settling on their final wager.


Evan emphasised that “we made Same Game Combos a fun way to get more action on a single game, linking bets together to build a storyline.


“It gives the user the ability to create a narrative of how the match is going to play out and bet on specific outcomes that support the story they’re trying to tell. It also challenges the user to think about the variety of states that a game can fall into, deepening their engagement with their favourite esports.”


Same Game Combos launched in August 2023, with Rivalry and PandaScore continuing to iterate and improve performance.


Looking ahead

For both parties, treating the launch as an alpha has been hugely beneficial. Both parties launched with the expectation that there would be a lot of collaboration and adaptation based on user input.


David noted some common trends amongst Rivalry’s users, “major requests we’ve implemented include betting on multiple games in a series, namely on game 2 while game one was still live, more game titles, combinations and markets. More player props has been a big one, Counter-Strike is strong on this and we’ve recently rolled them out on League of Legends and Dota 2.”


Same Game Combos is showing a lot of promise: those that use it love it, and there’s been strong growth since launch, with margin performance in the double digits. With a strong product user fit, it’s now about continued improvement based on user feedback.


With a strong performance out of the gates, both PandaScore and Rivalry now have their sights set on launching the sector’s first Valorant betbuilder product, unlocking a host of new options for esports betting’s rising star for a North American audience that can’t get enough of the title.

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