The eSports market is expected to register a CAGR of 20% during the forecast period, 2020-2025. As per the World Economic Forum, the eSports viewers spent 17.9 million hours watching their gaming heroes on channels such as YouTube’s gaming channel or on Twitch in the first quarter of 2018. The Sports market is still in its initial stage, and with the growing viewership, hence it is expected that it will offer strong potential to capitalize on the market in the future.
- The majority of the audience and the players of eSports are the Millenials. Thus, the publishers of the eSports are targetting these customer base by personalizing the gameplay experience and offering the game on different platforms such as console, PC, and mobile. For instance, As of April 2018, Fortnite game generated USD 296 million of revenue across platforms, which was more annual revenue than any major console or PC game by that time. Thus, with the new gamers in the ecosystem, it is expected to attract more eSports audiences, which will generate more revenue over time.
- Moreover, to make the entire sports organized, organizations are emerging for governance. For instance, associations such as the World esports Association (WESA), Esports Integrity Coalition are working with esports stakeholders to protect the integrity of competition, and investigate all forms of cheating, including match manipulation. Hence, this would have a positive outlook on the market and expected to complement the growth of the market.
- However, on the flip, lack of supportive infrastructure and lack of awareness about sports are few factors that are hindering the market growth during the forecast period.
Scope of the Report
ESports or electronic sports is a form of competition which is played using video games. This report gives a detailed analysis of the ecosystem of the eSports industry. Further, it t also contains the value chain analysis for the esports industry. This report also forecasts the overall esports market, in terms of value, segmented based on revenue streams, and concerning main regions such as North America, Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC), and Rest of the World (RoW).
Key Market Trends
Advertising to be the Largest Sources of eSports Revenue
- The advertising comprises the revenue generated from the advertisements targeting esports viewers, including ads shown during live streams on online platforms, on video-on-demand content of esports matches, or esports TV.
- With the rising viewership on online platforms such as Twitch and YouTube, advertising is expected to generate more revenue during the forecast period. According to Streamlabs, Twitch and YouTube led the race with 1.13 million active streamers and 432,000 active streamers per quarter, respectively, in 2018. Thus, with the increasing number of streamers, advertising relevant content is expected to increase, which in return will help to generate revenue for the industry.
- Moreover, Overwatch League Grand Finals, which took place on September 29, 2019, saw a 16% increase of viewership from last year's, which resulted in a global AMA (Average Minute Audience) at 1.12 million. Therefore, in order to track the viewership of Overwatch League and Call of Duty League, Activision Blizzard partnered with Nielsen in April 2018 to track both Overwatch League and Call of Duty League viewership. This partnership aimed to accurately gauge viewership for these events, helping Activision Blizzard strike accurate investing and advertising partnerships.
- Hence, all the factors mentioned above are expected to contribute to the advertising segment for generating revenue for the eSports market in the forecasted period.
China Dominates the Market
- China is anticipated to hold a significant market share in the eSports market owing to the popularity of the esports among the youth and supportive government support for the growth of the market.
- For instance, Hangzhou ( a city in China) plans to build 14 esports facilities before 2022 and expected to invest up to RMB15.45 billion (USD 2.22 billion). This investment is expected to make it the esports capital of the world.
- Moreover, Hangzhou is going to host Asian Games in 2022, where esports is expected to be an official medal event. With its investments, China is expected to become to hold significant market share.
- Further, Tencent Holdings Limited, a significant player in the eSports industry, is headquartered in China and played an influential role in the increase of eSports in China by developing games like "Honor of Kings," which made revenue of USD 1.3 billion in its own right in 2018. Tencent Holdings Limited is planning for expanding tournaments for hugely popular games like "League of Legends" and "Honor of Kings in China which is going to attract global players and viewers.
- Additionally, in February 2019, Nike, Inc signed a four-year deal with the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) in China. Nike, Inc would supply every squad with sneakers, casual clothing, and professional jerseys. Nike-sponsored jerseys are expected to enhance the visibility of the LPL league globally.
- Hence, with the increasing investment in the eSports in the country is expected to augment the China market.
The eSports market is at its initial stage, and thus, the market is a little competitive in nature. Although seeing the popularity of the eSports leagues, companies are entering into the market to gain competitive advantage and expand their geographical presence. Organizing new sports leagues, partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions are the strategies followed by these companies to increase their visibility across different geographic locations. Some of the significant players are Modern Times Group, Activision Blizzard, Inc and Riot Games, Inc. (Tencent Holdings Ltd) amongst others. Few recent developments are:
- October 2019 - Electronic Arts Inc., in partnership with Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), announced the launch of the EA SPORTS FIFA 20 Global Series on The Road to the FIFA eWorld CupTM. The EA SPORTS FIFA 20 Global Series continued to expand as more than 20 of the world’s most notable football leagues will run local events. And, it is expecting millions of participants from over 60 nations globally.
- December 2018 – Electronic Sports League (ESL) and Intel Corporation partnered to promote the advancement of the esports ecosystem through the introduction of the latest technologies, tournaments, and events across the globe, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, Intel would invest more than USD 100 million to boost the profile of electronic sports worldwide by providing high-powered computer processors.
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