We’ve talked at great length about the staying power of eSports in the past – from its being featured on an ESPN2 broadcast to the emergence of companies like Wargaming to the inclusion of major sponsors, such as Coca-Cola. But a new report from SuperData indicates that it has far greater staying power than anyone could’ve expected.
The company released a new report called the eSports Market Brief 2015, which indicates that the total market has reached $612 million for the year, with a tremendous growth for both North American and Europe in terms of both live attendance and watching tournaments online.
It’s easy to see why eSports would be so appealing, as a number of competitive games, from Hearthstone to DOTA 2 to League of Legends make it easy for players to get involved in match-ups between pro players. But SuperData believes that the emergence of competitive gaming presents publishers with a new avenue, to which it can advance the user experience and allow brands to take part – a way for new consumers to join the fun, even if they are “noobs,” so to speak.
The breakdown of the overall eSports market shows that Asia has a commanding lead with a whopping $374 million in revenue, while the U.S. follows closely behind with $143 million, and Europe is in third with $72 million. The rest of the world values at $24 million.
A number of key findings from the report include:
- The global eSports audience is 134 million strong and growing. Investment in innovative business models, platform and derivative businesses further spurs growth in competitive gaming.
- Competitive gaming is a marketing strategy, and not a revenue driver. In addition to traditional marketing efforts, organizing events and streaming content improves awareness and retention.
- 13 percent of live-stream viewers watch eSports. Almost half of eSports viewers in the U.S. use Twitch services, while roughly half of eSports viewers participate in some form of competitive gaming, mostly through online platforms.
- Corporate sponsorships total $111 million in North America. Brand owners and advertisers are expected to adapt to emergent forms of entertainment, which will grow sponsorship deals across the segment.
“In many ways, competitive gaming seems, at least at first glance, to resemble traditional sports. But to think that a new phenomenon like eSports can be described in terms of the old is to misunderstand it entirely. The intersection of technology, fandom and interactive entertainment is presenting us with new ways of sharing experiences on a global scale,” said SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen.
“In the past year, we’ve been working together with both our publisher clients and brand owners to map out the market for competitive gaming and help them identify key areas and opportunities. By building our understanding on a variety of data sets, including merchandise sales, event participation and consumer insight, we’ve managed to go beyond the fluff and provide an in-depth look at this unique market,” he added.
The full report can be found here.