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Money Smart Athlete Blog

Esports are here to stay

Jun 9, 2021 | Esports, Special Themes

By Demetris Constantinou, Contributor

Over the last decade, the eSports industry has experienced phenomenal growth, leading people to question the conventional definition of sports, one that assumes the involvement of physicality. In short, one side argues that eSports do not necessarily constitute a sport because they lack the physical aspect that we’re used to seeing in sports such as basketball, football and others. On the contrary, the other side suggests that eSports, through their competitive nature, as well as their ability to entertain, should definitely be included in the bucket of sports. In this article, we don’t seek to take part in this debate but rather explain why eSports, through their financial outlook and popularity, are here to stay.

When looking at the numbers, it’s estimated that the eSports market is expected to reach a valuation of $6.31 Billion by 2027, about 6 times its current valuation of $1.1 Billion [1]. While this may sound trivial, it’s an insane increase in valuation over a short amount of years which sets up the industry for growing dominance and popularity. Nevertheless, we cannot put things into perspective unless we compare eSports to the conventional sports industry. In terms of viewership, eSports are estimated to have the second largest viewer base in the United States by the end of 2021, with over 84 Million viewers and more viewers than the MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS. The only league estimated to attract greater viewership is the NFL, by far the most popular league in the US [2]. Looking at it from a monetary standpoint, the U.S. Open, one of the most famous Tennis Tournaments around the globe, had a prize pool of $39 Million in 2020 for Men and Women’s singles [3]. Comparing that to the Dota 2 International Tournament 2020 Prize Pool, which was valued at approximately $40 Million makes one realize that a professional Tennis player winning the U.S. Open could potentially be making less than a Professional eSports team winning the Dota 2 International Tournament [4].

While the above comparisons give us great context into the popularity of eSports, they don’t quite explain why the eSports industry is sustainable, after all, how do we know that this is not just a flare up that’s going to go away? The answer is simple, the eSports industry has among the youngest fanbases in all sports with about 73% of its fanbase being around the ages of 16-34 [5]. Furthermore, the vast majority of eSports engagement comes from Online TV as opposed to the conventional cable or offline TV. Both the fanbase, as well as the means of watching eSports, make eSports’ market growth a matter of when, rather than a matter of how. Moreover, the Coronavirus pandemic put the eSports industry at the center of entertainment during the lockdowns of 2020. As the world transitions into online formats, eSports entertainment has left its mark into the lives of many people who will continue to embrace eSports in the post-pandemic era.

While it’s clear that eSports are here to stay, it will be interesting to follow the rate at which this industry grows as well as the means by which it will seek to expand and gain popularity.

For more information on the growth of the eSports industry, you can contact us at info@apc-sport.com

[1] Global e-sport market size to showcase 24.4% CAGR over 2020-2027 – Global e-sports market size to showcase 24.4% CAGR over 2020-2027 (yahoo.com)

[2] With Viewership and Revenue Booming, Esports Set to Compete with Traditional Sports – Esports vs Sports | Can Esports Compete with Traditional Sports? (syracuse.edu)

[3]2020 US Open Prize Money – Prize Money | History of the US Open – Official Site of the 2021 US Open Tennis Championships – A USTA Event

[4] The Dota 2 International Tournament Prize Pool – The International 10 – Dota 2 Prize Pool Tracker (prizetrac.kr)

[5] With Viewership and Revenue Booming, Esports Set to Compete with Traditional Sports – Esports vs Sports | Can Esports Compete with Traditional Sports? (syracuse.edu)

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