For some sports fans, eSports don’t compare to traditional sports because of the lack of physicality and its comparatively unconventional nature. However, this is isn’t everyone’s opinion. When you look at eSports statistics, they indicate that the eSports market is thriving and can’t be stopped. In fact, there is even the potential for non-traditional sports to grow bigger than their traditional origins. This would change the industry’s landscape forever. Let’s look at the signs that show that this is a possibility.
Due to centuries of experience and institutionalized funding to lean on, the traditional sports market is still in front. However, venturebeat.com says that global eSports revenues are expected to reach $1.65 billion by 2021. There is still a long way to go, as the Premier League, the biggest soccer league in the world, last sold the TV rights for more than $15 billion for a four-year period. Still, it’s the growth of the market that is interesting. The eSports world might not be at the level of traditional sports from a revenue perspective, yet they could if they continue their trajectory. The figure for 2021 represents an increase of almost 40% from 2018, which is huge.
Sports betting is a huge market in the United States, and eSports are making in-roads into the sector. By 2024, the projected revenue for eSports betting is set to hit $862 million. This would be a doubling of its gross gaming revenue to 3.2%, which is up from 1.6% in 2019. This isn’t only an American trend, either. eSports are popular worldwide, in at least 25 countries including Korea, France, and Brazil, with the prize money ranging to the millions. As a result of this worldwide popularity, eSports fans have mirrored traditional sport’s fans by wagering on championships and tournaments.
For example, there has been a viewing surge of 90% in New Zealand compared to last year’s levels. Since the New Zealand Gambling Commission points out that 80% of Kiwis gamble, it’s not a stretch to say that the industry is on the up in NZ. As an example, the online casino comparison site Bonus.net.nz demonstrates the popularity of betting on eSports. The site compares a vast number of online casinos, many of which offer eSports betting alongside slots and traditional offerings, along with the promotions and bonuses available. With eSports wagers growing, the industry has found another way to catch-up on traditional sports.
Pop culture is always a good indicator of whether or not a trend will stick around. With eSports, the signs are that it isn’t going anywhere, as shown by the fact that there are talks to include it in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Olympic.org released a statement as early as 2018 saying that talks had started and dialogue was healthy. This isn’t the only time eSports will have been held in an Olympic stadium. In Beijing, the Bird’s Nest hosted a League of Legends championship and the tournament sold out in minutes.
The eSports industry might not be as prominent as the traditional sports market just yet, but the signs are encouraging, especially the fact that they could be included within the next Olympic Games.