The Numbers Behind the eSports Industry

Onur Unlu
February 16, 2019

Not so long ago, competitive gaming was only at its infancy, gathering a relatively small audience and having somewhat frugal prizes. However, the last few years have seen the rise of eSports that can’t be compared to any other traditional sport, and now, there are worldwide competitions where the best gamers compete in a prize pool worth millions.

The gambling industry has also accepted esports as a legit market, and the NJ Games team has even listed all the operators where you can bet on them.

Today, eSports has an audience of around 380 million. Some experts predict that the number will rise to over 550 million by the end of 2021. Not all viewers are necessarily gamers, as around 40% of them don’t play the games they enjoy watching.

All of this brings a lot of money to the industry. When you account for sponsorships, advertising, media rights, game publisher fees, and ticket sales, you can see that the global revenue of eSports in 2018 came to around $900 million.

Betting on esports is already a big thing. Namely, the calculations for 2016 showed that around $5.5 billion was wagered on competitive gaming in that year alone.

Some people still oppose the idea that eSports should be treated as an actual sport. However, there are plans to include these competitions into the Olympic Games in the future. There is still a decision to be made about whether eSports should be added as a showcase event in the 2024 Olympics in Paris. The 2022 Asian games confirmed that the eSports would be included as one of the medal events.

The League of Legends streams on Twitch gathered more than 270 million views in 2017. Close behind are Counter-Strike and Dota 2 with each having over 200 million views during that year. Other popular streams include HearthStone, Overwatch, Starcraft II, Fortnite, and others. Apart from Twitch, some other popular streaming platforms include YouTube and Mixer.

Scroll down and take a peek at our infographic to see more interesting information about the rise of esports.

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