Home Business Insights & Advice The eSports industry in 2023

The eSports industry in 2023

by Sarah Dunsby
28th Dec 23 10:50 am

eSports have been a niche interest with just a few followers and players a few years ago.  However, in recent years, they’ve become a part of the mainstream, and all the best gambling sites offer them.  There are many benefits to gambling on eSports for both the players and the casinos, and both are taking advantage of it.

In this article, we’ll talk about the state of the industry in 2023.  eSports are growing in interest and in the pool of players interested in betting on them.

What are eSports?

eSports refers to organized and competitive video gaming.  The players and teams compete against each other in video games, and the gambling sites allow the players to bet on the outcome.  The odds are set up the same way as in sports booking.

Any game that has a clear outcome and a clear winner can be a part of eSports, and players can wager on it.  The best eSports gambling sites provide players with a variety of different games to choose from.  Sports games are the most popular, but many other games have become prominent in recent years.

The rise in viewership

eSports have been around for a long time, but the rise of viewership has happened in recent years.  There have been many factors that have led to the increased viewership.  The player base has been growing for a while, and live streams have become common.

However, the biggest increase occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, as there were no other sports events to watch and gamble on.  It caught on, and people kept wagering long after the pandemic was over.

Between 2018 and 2019, there was a 12.3% increase year over year.  In 2019, there were 200.8 million occasional viewers and 197 million eSports enthusiasts, making the total audience 397.8 million.

The year-over-year growth continued through 2020 and 2021.  In 2022, there were 249.5 million occasional viewers and 240.0 million eSports enthusiasts, a combined eSports audience of 532.0 million.

Predictions for the future

The experts predict that the growth will continue in the years to come.  If that’s the case with the same rates of growth, the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for eSports enthusiasts from 2020 to 2025 will be approximately 8.0%.  They expect that the number of occasional viewers will grow to 322.7 million.  There will be 318.1 million eSports enthusiasts, making the total audience 640.8 million.

It’s also interesting to note that the eSports industry is growing worldwide, and new players are joining in from markets in East Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Growth in revenue

The increase in interest and public awareness has also led to the growth in revenue for the eSports industry and for the casinos that offer them in particular.  This is a long-term trend, and it’s been going on before the pandemic and the increased viewership it has brought.  The revenue increased by 30 percent every year up until 2018.  The growth slowed down since, but it’s still going steadily up.

The revenue in 2019 was $957.5 million, with a growth of 23 percent.  After the pandemic, growth picked up again.  Revenues reached $1,136.5 million in 2021 and then $1,384 million in 2022.  The 2022 figure represents year-on-year growth of 16.4%.

Growth predictions

The industry is planning for growth.  There are plenty of reasons to believe it will continue to grow as it did in previous years.  Young players are used to eSports, and the adoption rate for middle-aged ones is growing as well.  The growth may slow down somewhat due to the cost of living crisis, but it will continue until 2025 and beyond.

Revenues to reach $1,866.2 million by 2025, showing a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.4% from 2020 to 2025.

Where is the revenue coming from?

As soon as the industry found its audience and started to gain popularity, it expanded and created additional sources of revenue.  Most of these came from sponsorships and the support of popular franchises and leagues and, in some cases, even individual players.

At this point, the breakdown of revenue sources goes as follows:  sponsorship $837.3 million (up 16.4% YoY), media rights $207.8 million (up 13.0%), publisher fees $130.7 million (up 52.6%), merchandise & tickets $107.9 million (up 66.8%), digital $53.9 million (up 23.7%), and streaming $46.3 million (up 17.0%).

Sponsorships are the primary source of revenue for the eSports industry.  This is somewhat worrying as it shows a lack of diversity and, therefore, can be a potential risk.  The ticket sales are expected to fluctuate the most since this portion of the revenue is most affected by the financial crisis and inflation.  Streaming will become a more significant piece of the pie in the coming years due to the changes in the media landscape.

Live streaming games

Live streaming is the eSport industry’s main channel to reach its audience.  The growth and innovation in the live-streaming industry have also led to the growth of eSports.  Now, when live streaming is widely available to viewers all over the world and at all times, the industry has truly taken off.

The gaming live-streaming audiences for 2019 and 2020 were 593.2 million and 662.7 million, respectively.  The pandemic caused an 11.7% growth over 2020.  In 2022, the live-streaming audience reached almost 810 million.  By 2025, the global gaming live-streaming audience will be 1.41 billion, a CAGR of 16.3% over 2020-2025.

Twitch remains the most popular streaming platform in the West, although Facebook and YouTube are trying to catch up by creating special services dedicated to streaming alone.  Streaming is very popular in China, too.  Douyin, Huya, Zhangi, Huomao, and PandaTV are the most popular platforms.  China’s gaming live-streaming audience will grow from 185.5 million in 2020 to 267.5 million in 2025 (a CAGR of 7.6%).

Overall awareness is growing

Awareness of the industry is equally important as the viewership, as it creates a potential base of players and customers and puts eSports in the central position within the cultural moment.  It’s a metric that is somewhat more difficult to track, but even in this regard, it’s evident that eSports are growing in popularity.

In 2015, about 800 million people have said they’ve heard of eSports as a concept.  In 2022, that number was 1.4 billion, and it’s continuing to grow.  In China, 530 million people said they are aware of eSports, which shows that the country is young and has a tech-savvy population.

It’s important to note that the increase in awareness doesn’t always lead to a rise in viewership and revenue.

Conclusion

eSports have been on the rise for years and are part of an overarching trend.  Viewership and the number of players are both increasing.  This is partly because young players have grown up with games and playing online and partly because streaming games have become so ubiquitous in the years since the pandemic.

The eSports industry’s revenue comes from various sources, and sponsorships are the biggest portion of it, but ticket sales and streaming income also play a part.  The experts agree that the trends will continue in the years to come and that eSports will remain a vital part of the gambling industry.

 

Please play responsibly. For more information and advice visit https://www.begambleaware.org

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