ESports have rapidly flourished over the past few years, but we haven’t seen anything yet, according to SuperData numbers reported by a VentureBeat.
The article indicates that eSports current generates $748 million in revenue worldwide, showing how far tournaments for popular games like League of Legends and DOTA 2 have become over the past few years. This is based on statistics provided by SuperData Research, which also points out that video game competitions are equally appealing among North American and European fans alike, which makes up more than 52 percent of the overall market.
With rising star players, and plenty of sponsors set to devote cash, revenue numbers will continue to grow and may reach $1.9 billion by 2018.
Keep in mind that this number is purely from revenue, based purely on what pro competitions bring in through ticket sales, online ticket purchases, advertising and betting. It does not reflect the money made through in-game transactions, like purchasing costumes for League of Legends characters.
Brands have taken notice of eSports popularity and many have become sponsors quicker than projected, the report reads. By year s end, sponsorships of tournaments, players, and eSports-related sites will exceed $578 million, just 28 percent less than this year s NBA sponsorship total. That’s just 77 percent of total eSports revenues, while the remaining 23 consists of daily fantasy gaming sites, prize and tournament pools, and merchandising.
Out of all the money made, ticket sales seem to be lowest, which brings in $15.9 million. However, that number doesn’t account for what sponsors bring in through game broadcasts over Twitch and other networks.
Investors can’t help but get involved. Funding for various startups and platforms jumpstarted the eSports market, equaling an estimated $150 million year-to-date, reads the SuperData report. Multiple eSports and traditional sports betting platforms like Unikrn, Draftkings, and FanDuel have emerged this year. These platforms are receiving multimillion dollar investments from prominent figures like Ashton Kutcher and Mark Cuban.”
The sheer thrill of competition continues to be the key focus, and fans can’t get enough of their favorites. 76 percent of eSports fans have a favorite team and 69 percent have a favorite player, according to the SuperData report. Thirty-two percent of eSports fans watch tournaments for the players and teams. Fans have now become more acquainted with eSports superstars, increasing the celebrity of both teams and players.
To lend a little insight in regards to the appeal of eSports to brands, [a]listdaily posted an interview yesterday with EEDAR’s business analyst Ed Zhao, who explained the appeal to not only devoted brands, but also those considered non-endemic. “We researched a large number of non-endemic sponsors and their involvement of eSports. Generally, beverage companies have been some of the first to broach this. Companies like Red Bull and Coke have led the charge by really instilling themselves within the community. Red Bull hosts their own tournaments while Coke has sponsored League of Legends viewing parties in theatres. Many of these non-endemic sponsors have really worked to make themselves a part of the community rather than simply putting up advertisements and calling it a day.”
There are also lessons to be learned from devoted brands. “Non-endemic brands usually have to try a little harder,” said Zhao. “eSports viewers will already gravitate to a peripheral company like Razer due to that brand s great reputation among gamers. Razer simply has to remind the viewers about the brand and that can drive sales. In comparison, non-endemic brands have to prove they re really a partner and not simply there for the numbers.”
Opportunities will open up for broadcasters, and not just on Twitch. “We believe this can really act as a great proof of concept for many of the larger brands. Currently, it s only a few major brands that have really embraced eSports. It s something like a Coke sponsoring viewing parties or Intel with their tournaments. Many of the biggest brands are still watching, but they can see the massive upside. Today, eSports doesn t necessarily need TV to succeed but it will help to usher in greater widespread acceptance and advertisement opportunities,” said Zhao.