The word eSports might still sound rather foreign to many people, and chances are, the mental image formed would be that of a pimply youth who spends most of his or her time in a dark room, playing games and living off Coke and pizza. The rest of the room would be in an unkept and messy situation. Many parents might also wonder whether their progeny is going to amount to anything in the world. While all of the mentioned would be stereotyping, this does not mean that there is no money to be made in the world of eSports. Far from it. The eSports industry is booming, and it will certainly move toward defining the future of consumer electronics retailing.
According to the World eSports Association (WESA), “Esports (electronic sports) is professional computer gaming. Athletes from around the world participate in online and offline tournaments against each other. The games are broadcast and streamed in numerous languages, allowing fans all over the globe to follow the action live on a regular basis.”
In order to get a grasp on the massiveness of the eSports industry, here are the figures that might just make you think again. $93.3 million was the prize money pool that made its way to official eSports tournaments in 2016, which happened to be an all-time high within a single year. In other words, professional eSports players picked up over $93 million simply by being good at the computer and video games that they play. This amount of dough showcases the kind of success that the industry had when it comes to securing sponsorships with others like media partners, manufacturers, and different companies.
WESA further shared, “Not only have sports franchises entered the space, but so have former NBA players, venture capitalists and major media companies, as well as many of the top European football clubs. The entry of all of these major entities into eSports validates our view that this is an attractive industry with great promise.”
Based on statistics, 2016 saw 13,447 monthly active users participate in eSports tournaments at different degrees, with 3,793 tournaments being held throughout the entire duration of the year. If you were to break things down further, the average earnings per player in 2016 stood at $6,936.43, and this proved to be yet another record high.
Viewership numbers have also increased a whole lot in the world of eSports, thanks to partnerships with major networks such as ESPN. The eSports Conference website claimed that 148 million enthusiasts tuned into eSports events last year alone, which was a 29.5 percent increase year-over-year. There was another 144 million “occasional viewers” who did view eSports in a certain capacity, and it is estimated that by the time 2019, rolls around, these figures will hit a staggering 215 million enthusiasts and 212 million occasional viewers.
WESA further stressed, “While no one yet knows how big eSports can get, the viewership figures show a sizable global audience, and one that is getting larger every day. With the right business approach and more and more non-endemic brands entering the space, it is our view that eSports will continue to be one of the fastest growing categories in media in the coming years. CE retailers should covet the gaming audience, as these fans turn into consumers who then support the entire ecosystem.”