The total value of the online sports gaming market globally is expected to grow spectacularly in the coming three years, from $748 million today, of which the majority stems from sponsorships and advertising, to $1.9 billion in 2018.
In recent years the eSports market, also known as electronic sports or online sports gaming, has grown strongly across the globe, on the back of the rise of video gaming in general and in particular the emergence of online streaming services. The most common eSports category takes the form of televised eSports – for instance Twitch, an online streaming platform that regularly streams popular eSports competitions, last year hosted roughly 14 billion minutes of video to its viewers, while on its best day of the year the platform recorded more than 4.5 million unique views. Organised multiplayer video game competitions, predominantly between professional players, and tournaments form a major part of the eSports landscape.
Data from Superdata shows that the eSports industry is now worth $748 million, with sponsorships and advertising accounting for $579 million, representing 77% of the total. North America and Europe account for almost $400 million, over half of global revenues, while Asia, worth $321 million, is slowly giving way to western investment, say the researchers. “eSports are becoming more mainstream and that has attracted traditional media channels,” comments Stephanie Llamas, Director of Research and Consumer Insights at Superdata. “Even old-fashioned brands are taking notice and there is a growing interest in advertising to the coveted millennial male demographic on a medium they know well,” she adds.
Looking further ahead, the boom is expected to continue, says Llamas, the drivers of growth will however increasingly shift to more direct revenue source, sources such as betting sites and amateur tournament platforms. By 2018, the eSport industry will be worth a staggering $1.9 billion, a development which is set to benefit all players in the industry, yet at the same time reshuffle the cards. Growth lures in competition, and the contest is heating up, find the researchers, with publishers finding themselves in a battle to make mobile eSports the next frontier, while amateur tournament platforms will have to find ways of boosting profitability amidst a saturating market as supply will growingly exceed demand.