The eSports sector has grown significantly in viewership, which has in turn lead to revenue growth. Brands are engaging in eSports marketing, both directly and indirectly, as they recognise the potential of reaching a sizable and engaged audience.
The surges in eSports investment and revenue have been fuelled in part by the pop-culturisation of the sector. The social aspect of live streaming and gameplay is a major reason why eSports have reached such heights. Fans can interact directly with players and teams through video game-specific streaming services like Twitch and YouTube Gaming, social media platforms then help these relationships grow, fostering fan loyalty.
The global pandemic provided both challenges and opportunities to the eSports industry, some say the nature of eSports has been altered for good. The boundaries between livestreaming, eSports and even influencer marketing have become blurred. All live streaming platforms experienced increased viewership, due to people spending more time at home. Between 2018-2019 the industry saw a 12.3% increase in viewers year on year. This growth continued into 2020 with 435.9 million viewers.
Despite the difficulties the eSports industry faced at the time, it also experienced significant growth and penetrated markets where there had previously been little activity.
Up until 2018, the annual revenue increase was, on average, more than 30%. This growth changed in 2019 with a slight decrease in revenue. However, no one could predict the negative impact the global pandemic would have on the sport. The industry saw a decrease year on year of 1.1%, this can mostly be explained by lack of in-person events. Newzoo predicts that by 2024 eSports revenue will reach $1.6bn
Some of the increased revenue comes from investment, venture capitalists and more recently private equity firms, have shown increase interest. These investments are dispersed among participants in the ecosystem, including eSports organisations, tournament organisers, and digital broadcasters, enabling it to operate and develop.
These two trends, intrinsically linked showcase how the sport will continue to grow. Social and streaming platforms have allowed this sport to flourish which demonstrates the power these platforms can have. If you are still unsure how to best make use of these platforms, their features and how to start earning revenue, check out our eBook, written by sports experts to learn best practices and top tips.