Once a big product only in Asian markets, the eSports sector has rapidly grown through the past years, grabbing the attention of many mainstream investors. Even in the online gambling sector eSports are making a breakthrough as eSports betting becomes an increasingly popular trend in 2017 just as Live Roulette games or licensed slot games once were. And according to a recent SuperData report, the revenue generated by the eSports gaming sector and its viewership are only to continue growing within the next 3 years.
12% Yearly Increase in Viewership Predicted
Game data and market research company SuperData recently posted a report outlining the growth potential of the eSports sector by 2020. In the 14-page free document dubbed “Esports Courtside: Playmakers of 2017”, the research company predicts a revenue growth of 26% for the industry by 2020, citing the interest of “even more mainstream audience” as the fuel behind the growth.
In 2017 alone, the global eSports market was valued at $1.5 billion, according to the report, with half of that revenue coming from investments made by “high-profile” brands and sports organizations. The revenue is projected to grow to $2.3 billion by 2020, driven by an estimated 12% annual growth of viewership as well as an increasing number of “third-party investments”.
Out of the $1.5 billion revenue in 2017, around 85% was generated by investments from third parties in advertisements and sponsorship deals. Tickets and merchandise sales accounted only for 5% of the total revenue or the same percentage as revenue driven by amateur tournaments and eSports betting. Prize pools offered in tournaments, on the other hand, had a slightly bigger contribution of 6%.
LoL and Twitch Lead the Way
When it comes to viewership, the report outlines that League of Legends still reigns superior over Dota 2. League of Legends, alongside the Overwatch League, is projected by the report to grow its revenue from selling tickets, merchandise, advertisements, and sponsorships even further in the upcoming years.
But a formal strategy isn’t the only road to success, the report suggests, as shown by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), whose “unprecedented viewership” has grown to become 20 times higher than its actual player base. Only 7 months after its April release PUBG had surpassed 200 million unique viewers. Its October Twitch numbers show that the game is even getting close to League of Legends’ Twitch, which attracted 286 million unique viewers during the same month, the biggest audience in a single game. The report predicts that PUGB is “on its way to becoming the first Battle Royale eSport”.
The report also covers the fight between Twitch and YouTube for the dominance over eSports entertainment. While 67% of viewers were found to use both services, around 20% were found to only use Twitch for their eSports entertainment and only 11% were found to be using YouTube exclusively. Twitch was also the predominant channel for live streams in the US while YouTube was used mostly for “more curated content”.