It’s hard to put into words how fast and tremendous esports market grew over the last years. We will, however, try to do it and show the real scale of gaming expansion in terms of both viewership and revenue. Let’s take a closer look at the growth process of esports.

At the beginning of esport history, probably no one would have thought that it could reach this level of popularity and market value. The viewership of electronic sports is constantly increasing, so is the prize pool of the biggest esports tournaments. The phenomenon can be seen on so many levels. Let’s take a closer look at them and learn how to measure their relevance.

How fast esports grows?

Some say that electronic sports are the fastest growing sport in the market. Others claim that esports is not a sport. Regardless of your opinion on the subject, the story goes beyond that discussion and comes into its own, maybe a more significant point. That the ownership, potential and profit in esports get bigger and bigger each year.

The statistics are indeed mind-blowing. Survey of Statista shows that up to the year 2022, the global esports value is expected to reach an unimaginable point of $1.79 billion. In 2017, the market was valued at $665 million, so it means that the worth of this particular business should nearly triple in barely half a decade:

At the pace of 22.3 percent CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate), the market is expected to generate close to 1.8 billion U.S. dollars in revenue by 2022 (...) The majority of these revenues come from sponsorships and advertising, and the rest from esports betting, prize pools, tournaments, merchandise, and ticket sales.

Annual growth rate at the level of more than 22 percent! Impressive, isn’t it? The potential is so big and intriguing that the big dogs of sports and show-business, like for example Michael Jordan, already invested in this particular segment. Mesmerizing, jaw-dropping and eye-opening - that’s for sure.

Statista Esports market revenue worlwrde from 2012 to 2022
Source: Statista

How many people watch esports?

In April of 2019, over 10,000 League of Legends fans gathered around in one place to watch The North American League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split Finals. Though, this mere fact is still not the most impressive and most interesting thing. The NALCS finals brought a total of 600,000 viewers combined on streaming platforms! And that’s still not the end of the phenomenon. The 2018 League of Legends World Championship had nearly 100 million viewers online. For comparison, the 2018 Super Bowl, one of the biggest and best-known sports events of the world, had over 98 million global viewers.

Another Statista’s survey shows that electronic sports get closer to the status of football in Brazil or cricket in India. In certain circles, it may have the status of religion. Just look at the numbers. In 2022 esports is expected to have 297 million frequent viewers worldwide and 347 million of occasional viewers. It gives nearly 650 million people who will live the life of electronic sports at the beginning of the next decade.

World population is expected to exceed 7,95 billion by the year 2022. So let’s do the simple math. 8 in 100 men in the whole world will be in some way interested in gaming by the year 2022. Eight in one hundred men! Every show needs its audience, doesn't it?

Statista Esports audience size worldwide from 2012 to 2022
Source: Statista

Though the status of this industry doesn’t end on fans and spectators themselves. According to surveys, a quarter of the world’s population should be aware of gaming by the year 2021. To provide you with context: there were 1.4 billion people aware of electronic sports' sole existence by the year 2017.

What’s more impressive is that the Global Esports Market Report from 2015 predicted the much safer number. Newzoo expected that there will be more than 1.2 billion people aware of esports in 2017. The reality ended up with “only” 200 milion people more and went beyond the biggest expert’s expectations. It’s logical to assume that the scenario for 2021 may be no different.

How much money esports players make?

As with all other global businesses, big personalities and industry stars are responsible for esports popularization. It’s fair to say that the rivalry between Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo accelerates football, right? The same goes for Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in tennis or LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry in basketball. The best players are often the real driving force of sport itself and the best servants must have the best wages. Esports is absolutely no exception.

But let’s get to the sole of the whole thing. To the money itself. In 2019, the total prize of all 4112 professional esports tournaments organized in that year exceeded 196 million dollars. Mean earnings per player equaled nearly 9 thousand dollars. The money in this business shows excactly why esports is such a big deal.

As for the best players, the top list looks as follows:

  • Johan Sundstein, also known as N0tail, is the leader of the salary list. Defense of the Ancients 2 pro gamer and two-time The International champion made an almost $7 million across all of the tournaments he participated in.
  • Jesse Vainikka (JerAx) is also one of the most accomplished Dota 2 players in the world. Finn made almost $6.5 million up to date.
  • Anathan Pham (ana) is the youngest among the best ones. The 20-year-old Dota 2 player from Australia has more than $6 million in all of his tournament earnings.
  • Kyle Giersdorf (Bugha) occupies the 12th position on the list of best-paid gamers. He is, however, the first one of the list that didn’t make his fortune in Dota 2. Giersdorf is a Fortnite player, he gathered over $3 million across his whole career.
  • Andreas Højsleth (Xyp9x) is at the 45th place of the list. Here’s a first representative of any esports other than Dota 2 or Fortnite. Højsleth plays Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. His whole career earnings exceeded $1.6 million.

Anyhow, where does the gamer’s salaries come from? Thanks to TheStreet.com's article, we got to know the answer. Among the main sources of gamers income are:

  • Prizes. From $10 million of the top prize of Dota 2 International to the smallest winnings of the smallest tournaments. In that area basically only sky's the limit. The bigger and more significant the tournament gets, the bigger the money.
  • Regular salaries. They vary based on teams' and players' status, popularity and skills. Basic salaries of pro gamers are reportedly ranged from $3000 to $5000, up to $15000 for the best of the rest.
  • Sponsors. With investments from big companies, such as Adidas, Mercedes-Benz or Coca-Cola, tournaments, teams and players themselves can count on some big slice of the cake.
  • Digital streaming. Sometimes it’s the only way for the start of a pro gamer career. Streaming platforms, such as Youtube or Twitch, really help young gamers to make their name and earn first real money.
  • Media and merchandising. Another practical bottomless pit. Investments from media, merchandising & tickets were valued at more than $350 million of the esports revenue in 2019, according to Newzoo’s survey we already quoted.

Esports future (growth)

Although we already wondered what future waits for esports, this time we approach the situation differently, availing ourselves with others' predictions.

The gaming industry jousts with traditional sports, with a real chance of being a contender and conquering all of the rivals in upcoming years. But with this statement, we’re not reinventing the wheel. Someone else did it.

Newzoo made ten predictions considering the status of esports in the year 2021. Their esports predictions contained i.a.:

  • A high-profile esports competitor will star in a global Nike commercial.
  • More than half of the viewers of the League of Legends World Championship Final will not be active players of the game.
  • A quarter of the world’s population will be aware of esports.

That's only the tip of the iceberg. What's your opinion on that matter? What future for esports do you predict?

Conclusion

With market value of nearly  $1,8 billion and a staggering annual growth rate of 22 percent the esports market will strengthen its position on the world sport market.

Nearly ten percent of the world population are its fans and 25 percent are at least aware of the phenomenon. Those are crazy numbers but why not double or even triple them? Esports boom already blow up the world but it apparently should not and would not rest on laurels.

As you have probably seen, the gaming phenomenon is contained and showcased mainly in its growth statistics. Just do the math. Then you will get the bigger picture.

If you’re interested in gaming, then you should start your journey with an esports guide and once you know this world, you can start to bet on events from this world, the more esports betting tips you get the better.