REPORT: The eSports market is worth $747M

The worldwide eSports market is at $747M in 2015E, with year-over-year revenue growth is largely a result of more brands and advertisers entering the market. Combined, sponsorships and advertising totaled $579M this year. Asia, worth $321M, is slowly giving way to western investment, leading North America and Europe to account for almost $400M, over half of global revenues. By 2018E, the market is set to reach $1.9B with the growth of direct revenue source sources such as betting sites and amateur tournament platforms.

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“Brand advertising accounts for 77% of the market, and is on course to reach $1B by 2017E,” says SuperData’s Director of Research and Consumer Insights Stephanie Llamas. “eSports are becoming more mainstream and that has attracted traditional media channels like TBS and ESPN. So far, fans have had to seek out platforms to watch tournaments and players, but now people can stumble upon eSports while flipping through channels. Even old-fashioned brands are taking notice and there is a growing interest in advertising to the coveted millennial male demographic on a medium they know well.”

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. In addition to mapping out the overall market and its trends, the eSports Market Update 2015/2016 breaks down the revenue distribution between direct consumer monetization (e.g., fantasy and betting sites, merchandise) and indirect revenue (e.g., advertising).Key findings include:

  • The global eSports market is worth $748M and will reach $1.9B by 2018E. North America and Europe make up a combined 52% of the market as they continue to rapidly invest in the space while Asia approaches stagnation after a long fascination with eSports.
  • Investors inject over $150M of capital into new platforms like eSports betting and fantasy sites, but these sites fall short of expectations and earn $56M this year. Fans remain more comfortable wagering virtual gaming content over cash, causing real-money sites to gain traction slower than anticipated.
  • As viewership for 2015E grows to 188M, pro players and teams reach celebrity status. More than a third of American eSports fans choose which tournaments to watch based on whether their favorite teams or players are competing.
  • Amateur tournament platforms earn $28M but face an overcrowded market as supply exceeds demand. More than a third of eSports fans in the US participate in online amateur tournaments, but the number of sites cropping up is leading to a saturated market.
  • Publishers hope to make Mobile eSports the next frontier, gaining 19% of the US eSports audience. The success of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has caused mobile publishers like Super Evil MegaCorp, creator of VainGlory, to develop mobile games specifically for competitive gaming.

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