Approaching a total of almost 1 billion viewers around the world, esports is rapidly making its way to becoming an established part of the professional sports world. According to DataReportal, 22% of internet users have reported watching esports tournaments in the past few months. This means that there has been an overall audience growth of 50% in this past year!
One of the many reasons for esports’ making such a huge impact is because of inclusive gaming tournaments such as the Fortnite World Cup. Throughout the duration of 10 weeks in competitive play, more than 40 million players fought for a chance to make it to the finals and compete for their share of the $30 million prize pool. Sixteen year old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf reigned supreme in the tournament, earning himself a grand total of $3 million dollars, the largest payout for a single player in esports history.
Competitors aside, the audience turnout was huge, in person and online alike. The tournament took place at Arthur Ashe, a large tennis arena in Flushing Meadows, New York, and to many people’s surprise, all 23,771 seats were filled for the Fortnite World Cup. In addition to the in-house audience, it was reported that the tournament had over 2 million live viewers watching worldwide.
With tournaments like these fueling the esports industry, it is becoming more and more evident that esports aren’t going anywhere. As a matter of fact, 2019 has become a major milestone for the esports market as it is the first year esports has exceeded the billion-dollar revenue mark. The total revenue for this year alone has already reached $1.1 billion dollars, making an incredible +26.7% year-on-year growth.
“Esports’ impressive audience and viewership growth is a direct result of an engaging viewership experience untethered to traditional media,” says Newzoo CEO Peter Warman. “Plenty of leagues and tournaments now have huge audiences, so companies are positioning themselves to directly monetize these Esports Enthusiasts. While this began happening last year, the market is constantly expanding on its early learnings. The result: 2019 will be the first billion-dollar year for esports, a market that will continue to attract brands across all industries.”
While it is no surprise that this growth in popularity is clear evidence that esports are here to stay, the continuing success will vary based on entertainment trends, industry governance and even the future possibility of regional government censorship. Several professional sports teams around the world have already begun to invest in the billion-dollar industry by starting their own esports teams. Even digital broadcasters and TV media stations have begun competing for esports content in an attempt to reach out to the younger generations and get their slice of this new money-making pie.
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images