The eSports sector has seen remarkable growth in terms of viewership and income throughout the years. The rise in viewership is largely responsible for the increase in revenue – and not simply because those viewers generate revenue. Brands are engaging in eSports marketing, both directly and indirectly, since they see the possibility of reaching a huge and engaged audience. This has led to the industry's rapid financial development, which has only been delayed by COVID's ban on major public eSports events, though things appear to be back to normal in 2022.
eSports has seen expansion in a variety of other areas, many of which are interconnected in some way. In this article, you'll discover more about the eSports industry's rapid growth and how to take advantage of it.
Newzoo's 2021 Global Esports Live Streaming Market Report builds on their 2020 Global eSports Review, analyzing the latest eSports and live streaming market trends and developments through 2024. They now understand the importance of livestreaming in the eSports and gaming world777 arenas. In this post, we highlight many of their main discoveries and will update it when the 2022 version is released.
"Professional or semi-professional competitive gaming in an organized framework (tournament or league) with a specified goal/reward, such as obtaining a championship title or prize money," according to Newzoo. The eSports statistics we present here only apply to professional competitive gaming material, not amateur competitions or live streaming of non-organized competitive gaming. Newzoo distinguishes between the eSports and live-streaming markets (aka gaming market).
The popularity of eSports is increasing
The nature of eSports has changed as a result of COVID-19's entrance. The distinctions between eSports, live streaming, and even influencer marketing are becoming increasingly muddled. The pandemic resulted in an increase in viewing across all live streaming platforms. During the lockdown, people were forced to spend time at home, so they turned to livestreaming to pass the time. While the eSports industry encountered obstacles during this time, it also experienced significant development and moved into previously untapped markets. Many in-person events were canceled, and some international events were replaced by regional tournaments, causing the business to suffer.
Since 2016, there has been a substantial surge in eSports spectators - both casual watchers and fanatics, who follow it on a daily basis. Year over year, there was a 12.3 percent growth (using Newzoo's previous parameters) between 2018 and 2019. According to Newzoo's 2019 adjusted estimates, the total audience was 397.8 million, with 200.8 million occasional viewers and 197 million eSports fans. In 2020, the year-over-year rise continued, with 220.5 million occasional watchers and 215.4 million eSports fanatics, totaling 435.9 million eSports viewers.
Newzoo predicted that growth will continue until 2021, with an annual increase of 8.7%, resulting in a total eSports audience of 474.0 million, with 240.0 million occasional viewers and 234.0 million eSports fanatics.
According to Newzoo, the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for eSports enthusiasts will be roughly 7.7% from 2019 to 2024. The number of occasional watchers is expected to rise to 291.6 million. There will also be 285.7 million eSports fans, bringing the total audience to 577.2 million.
eSports is becoming increasingly popular around the world. North America and Western Europe are mature markets that are still growing. Growth markets in the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America, on the other hand, have had the greatest impact on viewership numbers in the past year. Furthermore, rising mobile streaming usage has fueled demand in markets such as India and Brazil.
Revenue Growth in eSports and How Brands Are Helping
Some firms have already made large eSports marketing efforts, realising the potential of getting into the eSports market. As a result, the industry's revenue has increased dramatically in recent years.
According to a previous Newzoo survey, income increased by more than 30% annually on average till 2018. The rate of growth slowed at this point, but eSports revenue in 2019 was $957.5 million, up 23.3 percent year over year (and slightly higher than what Newzoo had predicted).
COVID-19, on the other hand, had a significant influence on eSports revenue, with Newzoo lowering its global 2020 eSports revenue forecasts from $1100.1 million (as forecasted in February 2020) to $950.3 million. However, even this forecast was too pessimistic, since real worldwide eSports revenue in 2020 was $947.1 million. Revenues decreased by 1.1 percent year over year. This drop in revenue was primarily due to low in-person attendance at eSports events, as well as prohibitions on large gatherings. eSports and gaming are more popular than ever, as we've seen elsewhere; yet, COVID-related revenue limits are currently in place.
In terms of eSports income growth, however, 2021 appeared to be more promising. According to Newzoo, annual revenues will exceed $1084.1 million, up 14.5 percent year over year. They also predicted that China would account for more than a third of global eSports revenue.
Newzoo forecasts eSports revenues to reach $1617.7 million in 2024, representing a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.1 percent from 2019 to 2024.
According to Newzoo's most recent predictions of eSports revenue sources, the $1084.1 million in 2021 will most likely be split as follows: Sponsorship $641.0 million (up 11.6 percent year over year), media rights $192.6 million (up 13.4%), publisher fees $126.6 million (up 22.6 percent), merchandise tickets $66.65 million (up 13.8 percent), digital $32.3 million (up 50.4%), and streaming $25.1 million were all up 11.6 percent year over year (up 25.7 percent ). Despite the fact that sponsorship revenue is clearly the core of eSports revenue, ticket revenues are projected to recover from COVID-19 restrictions, and eSports organisers and teams will continue to diversify.
Awareness of eSports is Growing
One of the primary reasons for the increase in eSports viewership is that more people are becoming aware of the sport. Since 2015, there has been a massive increase in public awareness of the eSports business. There were around 800,000 people who had heard about it at the time. These figures shifted quickly, and by the next year, over a billion people had heard about eSports.
In the following years, these figures continued to rise by a few hundred thousand per year. By 2017, 1.28 billion people were aware of eSports, with 1.43 billion in 2018 and 1.8 billion in 2019. According to Newzoo, worldwide eSports awareness is predicted to reach 2.0 billion people by 2020, including 530.4 million Chinese.
So, what does this rise in awareness and viewing mean for brands? In general, it indicates that they have added a new channel to their marketing mix to target. However, it also states that there are more people in the eSports sector to reach. As a result, eSports marketing will enable them to reach a wider audience and convey marketing messages through more engaging channels.
The emergence of platforms that broadcast live eSports
Given how online platforms have made watching eSports content more accessible, it's no wonder that more people are watching eSports videos and tournaments. These platforms are used by eSports streamers to broadcast live coverage of tournaments as well as their own gaming. This allows fans to engage with their favorite eSports competitors and participate in their favorite tournaments.
As a result, the number of viewers and broadcasters on these platforms has increased. Although not all of the viewers and broadcasters on these platforms are interested in eSports, the surge is expected to have an impact on the sector.