North America and Europe have recently seen a tremendous rise in the number of people who watch eSports online and attend real-life tournaments. Popular digital game titles like DotA 2 and League of Legends enjoy a massive audience that regularly watches or participates in competitions. The emergence of competitive gaming presents publishers with a great new avenue to extend the user experience and allows brands to engage a generation of consumers that spend little time with traditional forms of entertainment. Download the full report.
In many ways competitive gaming seems, at least at first glance, to resemble traditional sports. But to think that a new phenomenon like eSports can be described in terms of the old is to misunderstand it entirely. The intersection of technology, fandom and interactive entertainment is presenting us with new ways of sharing great experiences on a global scale.
In the past year, we’ve been working together with both our publisher clients and brand owners to map out the market for competitive gaming and help them identify key areas and opportunities. By building our understanding on a variety of data sets, including merchandise sales, event participation and consumer insight, we’ve managed to go beyond the fluff and provide an in-depth look at this unique market, currently valued at $612 million in worldwide revenues.
Key findings of the report include:
- Korea and China continue to dominate $612M global eSports market. The ongoing investment in N. America and Europe by digital-only publishers drives overall growth and audience expansion.
- The global eSports audience is 134 million strong and growing. Investment in innovative business models, platforms and derivative businesses further spurs growth in competitive gaming.
- Competitive gaming is a marketing strategy, not a revenue driver. In addition to traditional marketing efforts, organizing events and streaming content improves awareness and retention.
- Thirteen percent (13%) of live-stream viewers watch eSports. Almost half of eSports viewers in the U.S. use Twitch.tv, the world’s largest live streaming site for game content. Roughly half of eSports viewers participate in some type of competitive gaming, mostly online through platforms.
- Corporate sponsorships total $111 million in North America (2015E). Brand owners and advertisers are expected to adapt to emergent forms of entertainment, which will grow sponsorship deals across the segment.