The esports market has finally hit the mainstream. Once only large in core Asian markets like Korea, it has now expanded worldwide and is top-of-mind of every publisher, platform, and brand. As recognition of the importance of esports grows, the data and insights needed for strategising become vital.
At $1.5B for 2017, global esports revenue will grow 26% by 2020 to touch $2.3 billion as it attracts an even more mainstream audience. This increase will be fueled by a viewership projected to grow 12% each year and a swelling number of third-party investments. The opportunities for revenue streams are also increasing as the market matures. In addition to receiving indirect revenue from investments, Overwatch and League of Legends are projected to grow their direct revenue by selling brand sponsorships, advertisements, ticket sales, and team merchandise.
The Brands are Here
Advertisers and investors are finally taking notice of esports’ access to key audiences, with their contributions accounting for 85% of the worldwide market. Globally, video game companies like Activision Blizzard, Riot Games and Valve continue to support their flagship esports titles with player franchising agreements and larger prize pools.
At the same time, a number of high-profile sports organizations and brands invested in the market for the first time, highlighting a growing confidence in its ability to break into the mainstream. Advertisers and brands like the The Kraft Group (owner of New England Patriots) and Mercedes-Benz are among the most notable, with several other sports teams and brands making financial commitments.
Twitch and YouTube continue their battle for gaming video and esports dominance, Overwatch League opens the floodgates for a new kind of esports governance, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds rides a wave of esports performance with no formal strategy.