Esports set to hit the $1 billion mark in 2019
If there was any doubt about the popularity of esports, then those perceptions will be smashed with the news that the competitive gaming industry is set to hit the $1 billion mark this year. In a recently published report by Newzoo, revenues from esports are widely expected to reach a staggering $1.1 billion in 2019. What’s particularly impressive is the fact that this figure is up an incredible 26.7% from the previous year.
It comes at a time when many businesses are starting to see esports as a viable commodity. Whilst the activity was widely seen as being little more than a niche teenage occupation, the fact that global audience figures will crack 453 million worldwide in 2019 is a testament to its burgeoning popularity. So what is it about esports that makes it such a world beater?
Ideal for sponsorship
For sponsors who are seeking to penetrate the young demographic with the greatest amount of disposable income, esports provides an easy pathway. Rather than trying a blanket media strategy across traditional forms such as television and print media, the younger demographic favours a more specialist format.
As a result, you can expect to see many large companies aiming to boost brand visibility by sponsoring esports teams, players and even tournaments. Sponsorship provides esports with its largest share of revenues with an expected $456.7 million being invested in competitive gaming in 2019.
What’s surprising is the diversity of companies who are getting serious about esports with everybody from automobile manufacturers like Audi to fast food giants like McDonald’s getting involved. Unlike the sponsorship of traditional sports, esports has also proven to be fairly easy to manipulate in terms of the marketing message. So look forward to plenty more big money sponsorship deals in the world of esports in the coming months.
The fight for media rights
Whilst the success of esports rests on live streaming channels like Twitch and YouTube Gaming, it’s clear that many more traditional broadcasters are starting to wake up to the appeal of competitive gaming.
This can be seen in the figures that state that media rights will give esports its fastest-growing revenues for the coming year. Media rights revenues are expected to grow by 41.8% throughout 2019 as there’s a scramble on to cover flagship tournaments like DreamHack, the International and ESL.
The fact that massive broadcasters like ESPN, Disney and ABC have joined forces with Blizzard Entertainment to show the forthcoming Overwatch League illustrates just how serious these companies are to cover the biggest competitive gaming events. Such moves will be a blow for Twitch who had previously purchased the streaming rights for the Overwatch League for $90 million over the previous two years.
Room for growth
It’s the dynamic nature of esports that gives it such an exciting future. Whilst sports like cricket and rugby are in the doldrums, we’ve seen a constantly expanding roster of esports recently. From Fortnite to Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, the ever changing number of tournaments means plenty more opportunities for fans and brands to get involved.