Need to Know: eSports is Poised to be a Billion Dollar Industry
The eSports market is growing at an unsubstantiated rate, set to be an industry valued at more than a billion dollars in the next three years (in 2016, eSports was valued by Goldman Sachs at $500 million, and the market is expected to grow by 22% annually).
There has been a recent boom in commercial opportunities in the eSports industry, from merchandise to sponsorships to acquisitions of teams and leagues by networks, other gaming leagues, and team owners. This includes the new phenomena of having eSports matches being broadcast to sports networks, namely ESPN. The first night of the Overwatch grand finals was the first esports competition to be broadcast live on primetime television on July 27.
This is not the first eSports tournament to ever be played on an ESPN network, but this new broadcasting agreement does show a turn in the eSports world to a commitment for regular broadcasting eSPorts coverage on TV and digital platforms.
With the growth of streaming services like Twitch and the lucrative careers it has offered some of it’s more well-known streamers, like Ninja, Dr. DisRespect, Shroud, and others, eSports and video game viewership have been hotly discussed topics in the sports and entertainment world.
There is certainly a market for these streaming services, and if the primetime pickup of esports tournaments continues to grow, there may just be a space for those streamers that are not necessarily playing in tournaments.
The advertising and sponsorship community should be prepared for this, as the chances for these events to become as big as the Super Bowl may be just around the corner. Only time will tell if this will stay a consistent market, but we should all be ready to see a huge mainstream boom in the understanding of the potential that eSports have as a cultural staple and an economic opportunity.