Esports revenues to break a billion dollars in 2020

posted on Tuesday, 18th June 2019 by Steve May

Broadcast  Pro AV  Entertainment 

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The extraordinary rise of esports presents a big opportunities for Pro AV, IT and broadcast companies, according to a new industry report from Futuresource Consulting. Industry revenues are on track to exceed $900m this year, and breach the billion-dollar mark in 2020.

“Esports has been around for a while, but is now really starting to enter the mainstream,” explains Adam Cox, Senior Analyst, Imaging & Pro Video. “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.”

He says key events such as Dota 2 are now enjoying viewing figures comparable to major conventional sporting events. As a result, securing exclusivity of major esports tournaments will become increasingly strategically important for both traditional sports broadcasters and established esports platforms such as Amazon-owned Twitch.”

Traditionally, the largest esports audience has been based in Asia, with core interest existing in South Korea and China. However, high levels of growth have been tracked in regions such as North America and Europe, which due to high levels of consumer spending power, have seen significant increases in esports revenue.

The esports industry has also been aiming to diversify the traditional fanbase, which is currently primarily males between the age of 16 to 35 years old.

Esports attracts a global audience of approximately 410 million fans, says 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.”

Familiar 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.”

Despite its relatively recent arrival in the mainstream, the AV and broadcast element of esports is well-developed. Video coverage uses traditional workflows and techniques that are similar to broadcast coverage of a major concert or sporting event. Spend per event on pro video and AV equipment can reach $1 million for the largest arena-based events and slide down to as little as a few thousand at the lower end. Futuresource research indicates an approximate 50/50 split between pro video and AV equipment, with the large LED screens used at events being the single largest equipment outlay.

“With rumours in the IOC suggesting that esports could be an official Olympic sport as early as 2024, the social acceptance and resulting industry returns are very much heading in the right direction,” adds Cox.

For more visit the British Esports Association.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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