The Rise of eSports

eSports is a rapidly growing global phenomenon and has exploded in recent years to unprecedented levels. Today, eSports has an estimated audience of 240 million people and US $1 billion in annual revenues. These are expected to grow to an audience of over 300 million and revenues of over US $1.6 Billion in just the next 3 years.

Esports audience growth

Global | For 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021

Esports revenue growth

Global | For 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021
Source: Newzoo | 2018 Global Esports Market Report

China & North America will generate

$509 Million USD

in 2018, or 56% of global revenues

Beating the Traditional Sports at Their Own Game

Prize money is certainly comparable to more traditional sports. The NBA prize pool is $13 Million USD, the Masters is $11 Million USD and the Confederations Cup is $20 Million USD. eSports exceeds each of them with a total prize pool of $24.7 Million USD World Economic Forum, 2018

eSports is beginning to rival traditional sports in terms of audience and revenue. The international appeal of eSports means huge global growth potential, and doesn’t restrict it to a single culture or country.

Top Games
Awarding Prize Money

The most popular games – with largest prize money and audiences – include: Dota 2, League of Legends, CS:GO, and StarCraft2.

  • Dota 2
  • $170,165,590.45
  • 2670 Players
  • 986 Tournaments
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • $62,869,419.25
  • 10492 Players
  • 3563 Tournaments
  • League of Legends
  • $56,708,115.83
  • 5870 Players
  • 2157 Tournaments
  • StarCraft II
  • $27,679,656.65
  • 1834 Players
  • 5131 Tournaments
  • Heroes of the Storm
  • $16,842,259.73
  • 1170 Players
  • 438 Tournaments

A spectator sport catching up to mainstream sports

eSports is the transformation of competitive online gaming into a spectator sport - an interest that is fast growing among millennials.

Viewers do not necessarily play the game – 42% of viewers of the top eSports games do not play any of the games themselves.

Dota 2 at The International sold out the Rogers Stadium in Vancouver – 20,00 seats. The online audience for this event was 67 million; far more than the TV viewership for the final round of the Masters.

Source: eSports, a Franchise Perspective, 2017, Newzoo

Prize money is comparable to more traditional sports. The National Basketball Association prize pool is $13 Million USD, the Golf Masters is $11 Million USD, and the Confederations Cup is $20 Million USD. eSports exceeds each of them with the International 2018 alone having a total prize pool of $24.7 Million USD.

World Economic Forum, 2018
  • League of Legends World Championships, 2018*
  • INCHEON
  • 42 million online viewers
  • Price pool:
    $2,250,000 USD
  • Call of Duty: World War II CWL, 2018
  • COLUMBUS
  • 325,000 online viewers
  • Price pool:
    $1,500,000 USD
  • DOTA 2 The International 2017
  • SEATTLE
  • Attendance: 20,000
  • 11 million online viewers
  • Price pool:
    $24,787,916 USD
  • DOTA 2 The International 2018
  • VANCOUVER
  • Attendance: 20,000
  • 15 million online viewers
  • Price pool:
    $25,532,177 USD

And audiences are getting larger

Top tournaments attract tens of millions of highly engaged online viewers. The ten most watched eSports events include at the lower end: The International, 2014, and ESL One New York, 2016, each with 20 million viewers. And at the top end: LoL World Championship, 2016, with 43 million viewers and Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, 2017, with 46 million viewers.

Event Year Game Unique Viewers Peak Hours Watched
Mid-Season Invitational 2018 60,000,000 19,800,000 363,000,000
Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2017 46,000,000 - -
LoL World Championship 2016 43,000,000 14,700,000 370,000,000
CFS World Championship 2017 37,000,000 - -
LoL World Championship 2015 36,000,000 14,000,000 360,000,000
Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2016 34,084,629 2,000,000 24,282,813
LoL World Championship 2013 32,000,000 8,500,000 -
DreamHack Masters Malmö 2017 31,000,000 - 20,000,000
ESL One Cologne 2015 27,000,000 1,300,000 34,000,000
LoL World Championship 2014 27,000,000 11,000,000 194,000,000
DreamHack Cluj 2015 25,090,864 985,052 30,837,479
ESL One Hamburg 2017 25,000,000 1,500,000 7,000,000
Source: http://esports-marketing-blog.com/esports-viewership-numbers/

A Rapidly-Growing Market

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