eSports: Just How Big Have They Become?

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history of esports

Just several years ago, not too many people knew what exactly eSports were. Right now, the situation is very different, as eSports have entered the mainstream areas of both gaming and traditional sports.

They started humbly, supported and cherished only by gaming enthusiasts who were passionate about sharing the love of playing video games. So, how did eSports come to where they stand today?

The Humble Beginnings of eSports

According to the infographic below created by NJ Games, the first time eSports appeared in the form similar to the present day was in 1980. That year, the Space Invaders Tournament took place, gathering 10,000 contestants.

The next big tournament was the 1997 Quake contest with 2,000 participants. It will be remembered because of the main prize – the 1987 Ferrari 328 GTS.

Fast forward to the present day – the International 2018 DOTA 2 Championship had a $25,5 million prize pool, which is the biggest one so far. Nonetheless, stats show that this is just the beginning of this relatively new industry.

eSports Through the Eyes of Spectators

Just five years ago, the biggest percentage of eSports viewers were video gaming enthusiasts who wanted to learn new skills and enjoy favorite games. However, as the infographic shows, 40% of today’s viewers do not play any of the most popular eSports games. Therefore, it is slowly but surely becoming a spectator sport.

That said, it comes as no surprise that the number of spectators has risen dramatically in the last decade. In 2012, eSports had 134 million viewers. In 2017, that number was 335 million, while in 2021, it is expected to reach 557 million.

Interestingly enough, the majority of viewers are males, but not by a large margin. Of the total number of spectators, 38% are women, which means that we can expect the gap to close further in the future.

Let’s Crunch the Numbers

Another tell-tale sign that eSports has become huge is the continued and exponential revenue growth.

In 2012, the total revenue that eSports brought was only $130 million. In 2017, that number was almost tripled and ended up being $468 million.

If you think that is impressive, consider that the projected revenue for 2021 is $1,385 billion. That’s more than the entire budget of several countries around the world.

In 2018, the total revenue was $906 million, most of which was generated through sponsorships. The next in line was advertising, which was responsible for around 19% of the total revenue, according to the infographic.

These numbers are truly spectacular and breathtaking, but we’re sure that they are just the beginning of what is going to become one of the most fastest-expanding industries in the near future.

To find out why we think that way, check out the infographic below.

esports

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