The eSports Industry is Bigger Than You Think
Blog written by Kylie Marler
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Not too long ago, the general consensus was that video games were for kids or teenagers. But nowadays you can find video gamers anywhere and at any age – gaming isn’t just for kids anymore. In fact, the video game world has grown so drastically that a newer industry has emerged, dubbed “eSports”. But just how big is eSports? Well, the answer might surprise you.
Growth in Viewership
Influencer Marketing Hub, a private media company based in Denmark that specializes in producing how-to guides, courses and research reports in the social media and influencer marketing industry, wrote this article about the growth of eSports. In the article, IMH cites statistics by Newzoo (a platform dedicated to being a source for games market insight and analytics). The graph to the left shows Newzoo’s statistics on eSports audience growth in the last couple of years.
According to IMH’s article, between 2018 and 2019 “there was a 12.3% increase year over year”. The article continues on, describing the trends shown in Newzoo’s graph, before concluding that Newzoo predicts by 2024 the Compound Annual Growth Rate from 2019 to 2024 will be approximately 7.7%.
The article adds that Newzoo expects “that the number of occasional viewers will grow to 291.6 million. And that there will be 285.7 million eSports enthusiasts, making the total audience 577.2 million.”
eSports Revenue Streams
IMH’s article also discusses the revenue streams that Newzoo estimates for the year of 2021. The graph on the left breaks it down to show that:
- sponsorships were up 11.6% year over year with a total of $641.0 million
- media rights were up 13.4% year over year with a total of $192.6 million
- publisher fees were up 22.6% year over year with a total of $126.6 million
- merchandise or tickets were up 13.8% year over year with a total of $66.65 million
- digital was up 50.4% year over year with a total of $32.3 million
- streaming was up 25.7% year over year with a total of $25.1 million
This article by Insider Intelligence also talks about the growth of eSports revenue, specifically investments in eSports. The article says, “investments are up to $4.5 billion in 2018 from just $490 million the year before”. The article also says, “the number of investments in esports doubled in 2018, going from 34 in 2017 to 68 in 2018”.
This leaderboard list by Esports Earnings shows the top 100 highest overall earnings of eSports players. The highest is $7,184,163.05 earned by Johan Sundstein, followed by $6,486,948.78 earned by Jesse Vainikka.
NCSA College Recruiting (a college athletic recruiting network) has this “complete guide to Esports scholarships” on their website. The page says that while scholarships are typically partial and range from $500-$8,000, several schools are beginning to offer full-ride scholarships for eSports athletes. The page says Harrisburg University “became the first college esports program to award full ride scholarships to its entire 16-player roster in 2018.”
The Future of eSports
So what does all this mean for the future of eSports? No one knows for certain, but the rising trends in the numbers seem to show that eSports will only continue to grow. So maybe video games aren’t “just for kids” anymore.
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E-SPORTS | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary. (n.d.). Cambridge Dictionary | English Dictionary, Translations & Thesaurus. Retrieved July 13, 2022, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/e-sports
Esports Scholarships | How to Get an Esports Scholarship. (n.d.). NCSA – Get Recruited. Play Sports in College | NCSASports.Org. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from https://www.ncsasports.org/college-esports-scholarships
How Much Do Esports Players Make – Esports Grizzly. (2021, July 20). Esports Grizzly. https://www.esportsgrizzly.com/blog/how-much-do-esports-players-make/
Intelligence, I. (n.d.). Esports Industry in 2022: Market Stats & Viewership Growth Trends. Insider Intelligence; https://www.facebook.com/InsiderIntelligence/. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from https://www.insiderintelligence.com/insights/esports-ecosystem-market-report
The Incredible Growth of eSports [+ eSports Statistics]. (2019, March 28). Influencer Marketing Hub; https://www.facebook.com/Influencer-Marketing-Hub-201973210232423/. https://influencermarketinghub.com/esports-stats/#:~:text=How%20big%20of%20an%20industry,1.64%20billion%20dollars%20by%202024.
Top 100 Highest Overall Earnings – Esports Player Rankings :: Esports Earnings. (n.d.). Esports Earnings :: Prize Money / Results / History / Statistics. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from https://www.esportsearnings.com/players