When gaming meets TV and sports
The pace of growth of eSports revenues suggests it has established itself as a market segment of the video game sector in its own right. There are an increasing number of players, more professional tournaments, and larger cash prizes awarded. Mobile eSports games have grown significantly, but major PC games remain the most popular.
eSports, a small market compared with video games, but growing faster
The overall turnover of the video game sector is 115 billion EUR (excluding hardware sales) in 2019, and eSports accounts for 1.4% of the sector. However, eSports is growing faster than video games. eSports will account for 2.6% of the video game industry by 2023.
At the end of 2019, IDATE estimates that the world eSports market is worth 1.6 billion EUR. It could exceed 4.3 billion EUR in 2023, an average annual growth rate of 28.5% over the period. The sponsorship and advertising segment will remain the largest in value until 2021. In 2022, revenues from eSports betting could generate 1.2 billion EUR and 1.6 billion in 2023.
Rise of eSports betting
Progression of global eSports revenue, by source
The United States number one in cash prize wins
In 2018, there were over 22,500 professional or semi-professional players competing, compared with 3,000 in 2010. Nearly 30,000 players are expected in 2019.
In terms of winnings, the best eSports players belong to US teams. US players won nearly 30 million USD in cash prizes in 2018, versus a little over 15 million USD in 2017. This number is likely to rise to 38 million USD in 2019. In 2018, China dropped to second with 18.3 million USD in cash prizes.
The Republic of Korea, where eSports was born, still ranked third in 2018 with 14.3 million USD in winnings. North European countries are still well represented, including Denmark, Finland and Sweden. In 2019, French teams gained a foothold by winning 8.9 million USD, and they now place fifth in the world rankings.
Growing professionalisation of eSports
Progression of the number of offically listed professional eSports players
Mobile eSports quietly emerging in competitions
Not many mobile games are played competitively in eSports: Clash Royale, Turbo Racing League, Vainglory, Arena of Valor, World of Tank Blitz, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links.
Aware of the potential of Clash Royale, its developer, Supercell – a subsidiary of the Chinese giant Tencent – wants to create a “Clash Royale League”. Unlike Activision Blizzard, Supercell wants to use existing professional leagues and not to create franchises. With this approach, Supercell is planning for 36 teams (8 North American teams) to take part in the CRL, with a grand prize of 1 million USD awarded to the winner of the world finals.
Gambling winnings growing faster than tournament cash prizes
Progression of the size of eSports tournament cash prizes
Competitions are driving the sector’s economic dynamic
The annual global amount of cash prizes awarded to competitors has been growing constantly since 2009. It reached 113 million USD in 2017, 163 million USD in 2018 and 207 million USD as of early December 2019 – more than 20 times the amount awarded to competition winners in 2011.