In case you’ve been sleeping:
Tournament prize pools now rival those for some of the biggest events in traditional sports, and global audiences for some big gaming events have surpassed 100 million viewers, driven largely by esports’ exploding popularity in Asia.
The lion’s share of esports revenue comes from corporate sponsorships, according to industry analysis firm Newzoo, with ticket sales, merchandising and broadcasting rights bringing in additional revenue. Newzoo estimates that esports will generate $345 million in revenue in North America this year, in addition to more than half a billion dollars in revenue overseas.
You will note that total is much less than for major league football or baseball, which exceed $10 billion each. Still, “more service for less gdp” is a common theme in the internet economy. Consider this:
The 2017 League of Legends world championship, held in Beijing, drew a peak of over 106 million viewers, over 98 percent of whom watched from within China, according to industry analyst Esports Charts. That’s roughly on par with the audience for the 2018 Super Bowl.
In other words, the nation without the traditional “locked in” major sport franchises is choosing to jump to eSports. And:
This year’s total DOTA 2 championship audience was roughly the same size as the total number tuning into the Kentucky Derby, and considerably larger than the peak Wimbledon, Daytona 500, U.S. Open or Tour de France audiences.
All of a sudden, more and more of the world is “stuff I never really heard of before.”