Business

Esports revenue will surpass $1 billion for the first time

Latin America and other emerging regions will see business around digital sports growing faster than more mature markets

Gamers at their computers at an esports event. Photo: Shutterstock
  • Mobile esports were the main drivers for growth in Brazil, India and Southeast Asia;
  • China is the largest market by revenues, with total revenues of $385.1 million in 2020, followed by North America.

Global esports revenues will reach $1.1 billion in 2020, without counting broadcasting platform revenues, according to the Esports Global Market Report, published by Newzoo, a researcher. The figure represents the first time revenues may surpass the billion mark and a year-on-year growth of 15.7%, up from $950.6 million in 2019.

China is the largest market by revenues, with total revenues of $385.1 million in 2020, followed by North America, with total revenues of $252.8 million. Newzoo also highlighted that mobile esports enjoyed a huge spike in the past year, with emerging markets like Southeast Asia, India and Brazil at the forefront of this growth.

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As such, emerging esports markets will show the highest compound annual growth rate, with regions such as Southeast Asia (24.0%), Japan (20.4%), and Latin America (17.9%) accelerating to close the gaps between themselves and older, more developed esports markets.

Audience

Globally, the total esports audience will grow to 495 million people in 2020, Newzoo said. Esports enthusiasts (people who watch games more than once a month) make up 222.9 million of this number.

“The market is maturing in entirely new ways, with innovative revenue streams starting to develop, such as streaming and digital goods.

Remer Rietkerk, head of esports at Newzoo.

In 2020, $822.4 million in revenues—or three-quarters of the total market—will come from media rights and sponsorship. Consumer spending on tickets and merchandise will total $121.7 million, while another $116.3 million will come from game publishers’ investments into the esports space.

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“As the esports market matures, new monetization methods will be implemented and improved upon,” said Remer Rietkerk, head of esports at Newzoo, in the report. “Likewise, the number of local events, leagues, and media rights deals will increase.”

Rietkerk added, “These are new ways to monetize that are not available to traditional sports; they also demonstrate a growing understanding of the competitive advantages esports has over sports. These revenue streams have become pioneering ways for teams, organizers, and publishers to grow the business.”