According to SuperData Research, eSports is growing into one of the most lucrative industries and it’s expected to reach $1.9 billion by 2018. Currently, the worldwide eSports market is worth $747 million, with North America and Europe being leaders. Asian eSports, on the other hand, has been slowing down and giving way to western investments.
The organisation points out that the already impressive jump of year-on-year growth can be attributed to world popular brands and advertisers entering the eSports market in 2015. Almost $579 million or 77% of the market size goes to sponsorships and advertising deals.
As can be seen in the report published by SuperData, the Asian eSports market is worth around $321 million, while North America and Europe attribute approximately $400 million. Seven percent of the market share, or almost $56 million, belong to eSports betting and fantasy sites, while amateur & micro-tournaments account for only 4% ($27.7 million). The rest of the eSports market is made of prize pools (7%), merchandise (2%) and ticket sales (2%).
Stephanie Llamas, director of research and consumer insights at SuperData, commented that eSports were becoming more mainstream and had attracted traditional media channels like TBS and ESPN. She added that in the past “fans had to seek out platforms to watch tournaments and players,” while now they could stumble upon eSports while “flipping through channels.”
This form of competitive gaming first appeared in South Korea back in 1990s and it was followed by the foundation of the Korean eSports Association. Soon afterwards, eSports quickly spread throughout Asia, which resulted with the birth of prestigious eSporting events such as Blizzard Entertainment’s Blizzcon and Riot Games’ League of Legends World.
Some of the most important eSports titles in the world today are World of Warcraft and StarCraft II.