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Esports predicted to hit US$1bn by 2020

Esports revenues are predicted to exceed US$900 million (€803 million) in 2019, and will exceed US$1 billion (€890 million) in 2020.

According to a new industry report from Futuresource Consulting, esports will continue its growth in the coming years, allaying concerns that pundits have had over a potential ‘esports bubble’.

“Esports has been around for a while, but is now really starting to enter the mainstream,” said Adam Cox, senior analyst – Imaging & Pro Video at Futuresource Consulting. “It’s riding a rising wave of consumer awareness, as celebrities and traditional sports teams get involved, household brand names take a piece of the sponsorship pie, and the likes of Turner, BBC and Sky invest in content acquisition and production.

Esports has traditionally had its largest base in Asia, particularly in South Korea and China. North America and Europe have been behind, but growth is predicted and expected going forward.

“Esports currently caters for a global audience of approximately 410 million fans,” continued Cox. “As organisers seek to attract older demographics and more females to the sector, we expect global audiences to almost double by 2023. This will result from a rise in popularity in emerging regions, as well as wider appeal in established markets.

“Sponsorship accounts for the majority share of industry income, contributing to over 40% of total revenues. With all the buzz around the sector and the promise of mainstream success, established esports sponsors such as Intel, Razer and HyperX are now being joined by non-incumbent brands such as Coca Cola, McDonalds and Mercedes Benz. This is triggering significant tournament prize pools, with global prizes totalling $205 million for the 4,000 plus events hosted last year. In comparison, men’s tennis ATP Tour’s prize pool for 2018 totalled $135 million.

“We’re seeing a virtuous circle that can only increase the exposure and profitability of esports.”