Unless you’ve been on another planet in recent years, you’ll most likely be familiar with the growing popularity of esports. With the rise of game streaming services, established tournaments and competition levels, the esports industry has taken off to new heights.
The reason behind the popularity comes with a change in public perception that video games are no longer just video games. With the growing popularity of battle royales, MMORPG and realistic sports games, people are now seeing esports as a career option and side-hustle.
In the following article, you’ll get all the answers and insights you need when it comes to the world of how the esports industry works, growth of live streaming and much more.
What Do You Mean By Esports?
Esports or electronic sports is the act of playing a sports or combat video game as a competition and sometimes even for money. These highly competitive competitions are held between professional gamers that either play individually or in teams.
Although esports competitions have long been a part of gaming culture, in the beginning, they were largely played between amateur gamers for little to no money. It wasn’t until after the late 2000s that the industry saw a huge surge in the participation of professional gamers and spectators from all over the world. By the 2010s, the esports industry was a multi-million dollar industry and there are now esport tournaments all over the world.
Reasons Behind The Growing Viewership Of Esports.
Esports viewership has grown along with the competition. A lot of this growth can be attributed to live streaming on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch, which was started in 2011. Now Twitch attracts over 35 million monthly visitors.
Because of this, more and more people are becoming avid spectators. There is one more factor that highlights why viewership has grown so much. That factor is the type of games that are being live streamed. Many players and teams focus on becoming a professional at one or two games. There are audiences and gamers who are die-hard players and they want to follow and watch their favorite pro-gamers.
So let’s just quickly look at some of the top mainstream esport game franchises:
League of Legends
Super Smash Bros
Call of Duty
1. Increase in spectatorship
After the COVID-19 pandemic, the nature of esports changed drastically. Due to the pandemic, the live streaming platforms were getting larger viewership than ever before.
People were required to stay at home and to overcome this boredom, so a majority of
people turned to live streaming during lockdown.
While the rise of esports was affected due to pandemic and the entire industry faced challenges during lockdown, it also managed to explore new sports marketing opportunities and gradually expanded into areas where there had previously been very little activity. The esports industry did suffer losses due to cancellation of in-person events, and
some international competitions were conducted within a geobubble in the form of
But even though in-person events got cancelled, the growth of online viewership has been astounding. there still has been significant growth in viewership. Let’s compare the viewership from 2016 to the present day. It is estimated that in 2016 there were around 270 million fans of esports. That number has grown to around 495 million in 2020.
Esports already has a stable market base in countries like North America, Western Europe and Asia. However, with the increased use of smartphones and availability of cheap internet, esports is growing popular in countries like India and Brazil.
2. Brand Integration And Revenue Growth
With record number viewership and continued growth imminent, big brands realize the potential of tapping into the esports industry. In recent years, they have made some significant sports marketing investments which has resulted in impressive growths of revenue. Not only that, but investors are flocking to fund esports teams like never before.
Some of the big brands that advertise on Twitch and at esports tournaments are:
Now that you know big brands are spending millions of dollars on sponsorships and esports advertising, it’s time to look at the highest valued esports teams right now. The top five teams collectively are valued at over $1.5 billion. Below see how much each sports team is worth.
1. TSM is valued at around $410 million
2. Cloud9 is valued at around $350 million.
3. Team Liquid is valued at around $310 million
4. FaZe Clan is valued at around $305 million
5. 100 Thieves is valued at around $190 million
These numbers are nothing to bat your eyes at. Now you can understand why some brands would like to fund or sponsor these teams just based on their success and popularity.
3. Audience From Live Streams
Esports live streaming platforms are mainly Twitch and YouTube. Some other
platforms that are extremely popular in Asian countries include Douyu, Huamao and PandaTV.
This is the one of the very few sectors which saw growth during the lockdown phase. The reason behind this is said to be the increase in time spent at home. According to a report, there was a significant growth of 11.7% in the year 2020 which further increased to 22% in 2021.
Other than China, the growth in live streaming and broadcasting was immense in
Spain and Portugal. Spanish and Portuguese are now the second and third most
used language when it comes to live streaming.
Among various reasons, the one that is considered to be the most important is the increase of awareness in the esports industry. This brought in the investors and brands which ultimately attracted more people towards esports. It helped the gamers both in terms of giving them a platform to showcase their talent and financial assistance. Now it is possible to play video games competitively and get paid to do so.