Dark Light

Professional competitive video gaming, known as esports, is a rapidly growing phenomenon. Millions of fans regularly tune in online to watch esports tournaments where top players compete for prizes that can be worth up to a million dollars. These players can attract salaries and other financial benefits, such as appearance fees and sponsorships, comparable to the big names in traditional sports.

With the esports market set to explode over the next decade, particularly in Asia, the question is whether esports will ultimately eclipse traditional sports such as cricket and football in terms of viewing figures and revenue. Right now, the market for most traditional sports is much bigger than that for esports, but the latter is catching up fast. It’s a young industry with huge room for expansion, whereas traditional sports are struggling to reach new fans.

Digital market

The market and growth potential for esports is aligned with that of video gaming in general, and also with the growth in the number of internet users worldwide. This, in turn, is being boosted by the number of people using mobile devices, primarily smartphones, to go online. Mobile technology has opened up the web to millions of people who don’t have access to a PC, plus millions more who prefer to go online while on the move.

New audience

Esports providers are currently optimizing their products for mobile devices, which are predicted to be a major driver in the growth of the industry. Traditional sports are also looking to the internet and the mobile market in order to expand their following. It’s now common to look for cricket news on sportsbet.io, and this year the Cricket World Cup was broadcast over Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for the first time, as well as via the ICC’s own digital channels.

Viewing figures

Digital broadcasting saw the Cricket World Cup achieve over 4.6bn views, although many of those would have been from the same viewers logging in on repeat occasions. Esports has a regular global audience of 194m, with major tournaments attracting up to 200m viewers. That’s over three times the number that watched the tennis championships at Wimbledon, but nowhere near the 3.6bn that watched the 2016 Olympics or the last FIFA World Cup.

Rapid growth

The esports audience has grown by 60% since 2017, and at that rate, it’s certainly possible that it could eclipse traditional sports in the next decade. This year the overall revenue of esports is set to surpass $1bn for the first time. The industry is expected to be worth $1.79bn by 2022 and could be worth $9bn or more by 2030.

To put this into perspective, European football was valued at nearly $29bn (£21.9bn) in 2018, with the English Premier League alone worth nearly $6bn (£4.5bn). Experts predict one club, Manchester United, could be valued at $1.4bn by 2030. However, total Asian video gaming revenue is set to reach $200bn by 2030, with esports providing the major part of that revenue.

Esports is set to grow hugely and will certainly be competing with traditional sports over the next decade. Whether it will overtake them completely remains to be seen, but the ICC, FIFA and the rest should certainly watch their backs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts