Esports Popularity is Growing Fast and Furiously

Published on November 7th, 2017
Written By: Ariel Noel
Esports event held in Russia.  Man celebratin in front of a large crowd looking at the big screen. Competitive video gaming, also known as Esports, is an industry worth between $1bn and $1.5bn in this year alone. This includes advertising, sponsorships, media rights, merchandise and ticket sales. Last year the Electronic Sports industry was worth $900m and it is projected to be worth $5bn in 2020.

Millions of people from all over the world are tuning into websites like Twitch to watch players battle it out in the video game world. Thousands of fans are filling up arenas to watch digital athletes compete live. Twenty plus European football clubs, including Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Ajax, have formed their own teams of video game players to compete in the soccer simulation FIFA 18.

The esports industry is rising in popularity. It is estimated that 191m people worldwide tune in at least once per month to watch an esport event. This number is projected to increase to 286m by year 2020. Industry sponsors are flooding in and they already include corporate giants such as Samsung, Intel, Logitech, Red Bull and Coca Cola.

The fastest growing part of esports is media rights. In 2017 this segment of the industry was worth $95m and it is estimated that in three years this figure will be around $340m. It will not be long until companies such as Sky and ESPN are bidding for content against Youtube, Facebook and Twitch.

There is no shortage of astonishing facts that describe the rapid rise of esports. Here are a few more:

- Amazon paid just under $1bn for the website Twitch in 2014.

- The 2017 grand final of the League of Legends World Championship was held in front of a 40,000 crowd at the Beijing's famous Bird's Nest Stadium.

- Top digital athletes (video game players) receive a salary in excess of $100k / year and have their travel expenses paid.

- Japan now allows visiting esports tournament players to enter the country on the same visas as professional athletes.

- The 2022 Asian Games will include esports as a medal event.

- Las Vegas is currently planning two esports arenas to be built in two of the city's largest casinos.

- At the latest International Olympic Committee Summit the requirements to include esports for the 2024 Summer Games in Paris were discussed.


There is no doubt about it, the electronic sports industry is growing.

It will be interesting to see if one day we will be cheering for top video game players like we cheer today for athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

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