Report: Global eSports economy to exceed $900m this year
The global eSports economy will be worth $905.6 million this year, according to the latest estimates by industry researcher Newzoo.
The figure would mark a 38-per-cent increase in the present value of the market.
In its Global eSports Report, Newzoo projects that the economy will be worth $1.4 billion by 2020 and could even rise to $2.4 billion if “a more optimistic scenario” occurs.
This year’s market growth is expected to be driven by a 48-per-cent lift in investment from sponsors, advertisers, rights-holders and content licensees (see graphic below).
Media rights are set to experience the largest upswing in value as spend is expected to increase by 72 per cent compared to last year.
Last month, Twitch, the Amazon-owned video portal, signed a two-year deal, worth a reported $90 million, to stream the new franchise-based Overwatch League.
Newzoo estimates that the global eSports audience will hit 215 million this year, compared with 165 million in 2017.
Commenting on the report, Peter Warman, chief executive of Newzoo, said: “As a consumer phenomenon, eSports continues to grow its huge base of passionate fans across the globe. As a business, eSports is now entering a new and critical phase toward maturity. Big investments have been made, new league structures have been launched, sponsorship budgets have moved from experimental to continuous, and international media rights trade is starting to heat up.
“At the same time, player salaries have soared and the eSports ecosystem and viewership hours still very much rely on a select number of globally operating teams and game franchises. Profitability and return on investment is, for many organizations at the heart of the eSports economy, a challenge.”
Rival research firm Juniper Research has previously projected that eSports and video game streaming revenues will reach $3.5 billion by 2021.
Last year, Newzoo estimated that the eSports economy would be worth $696 million in 2017, up 41 per cent a year earlier, and that media rights values would increase sevenfold from $50 million last year to just under $340 million in 2020.