E-Sports: What Is It, How Big Is It and How Fast Is It Growing?


The e-Sports market is growing, and it is growing fast. A recent Business Insider report shows that the $325 million market is going to explode and grow nearly three-fold to hit $800 million by 2019. Not bad for a market that had negligible presence ten years ago.

What is e-Sports?

To put it in very simple terms, e-Sports is where video gamers get together at a physical location and play against each other, virtually. The day multi-player games came into the picture was when the seed for e-Sports was sown. Whether you are playing as a team or just playing against some one else sitting on the other side of the world, there have always been platforms to take things to the next level and get the gamers to come together and play as a community.

The gaming community itself is sizable. If you are interested in video games, then you are very likely interested in watching other players play, and to learn from them. The advent of online streaming has made that job simple and easy, and platforms like Amazon’s Twitch have made it even easier to follow other gamers, learn tips and tricks, share information and gameplay and, more importantly, watch experts at play. In gaming terminology, it’s called “Let’s Plays”

Wired author Julie Muncy writes:

“Nowadays, watching other people play videogames is a multi-million-dollar industry called Let’s Plays. They dominate YouTube’s top earner charts and have formed the broad template for streaming live gameplay on the website Twitch, which Amazon acquired for nearly $1 billion in 2014.”

You might be a little shocked if you looked at Twitch‘s numbers without knowing how big it was:

  • 15 million daily active users
  • 2.2+ million unique content creators per month
  • 22+ thousand members of the Twitch Partner program
  • 106 minutes watched per person per day
  • 2+ million peak concurrent sitewide viewers

That’s right. 15 million people logging in every day, while an average Twitch user spends 106 minutes, nearly an hour more than an average person spends on Youtube. The gaming community is not just a sizable one, but a very engaged one.

The rapid growth of the e-Sports industry is helping brand owners increase video game awareness, expand user base and improve loyalty. And if you can make a ton of money in the process, then why not?

The e-Sports industry has become so attractive, in fact, that Nielson, the world’s leading market research firm, famous for inventing the “TRP” rating, felt that the time has to come to launch a new unit to track the e-Sports market. Out of that was born Esport24, a service to track syndicated sponsorships for e-Sports tournaments. What it does is to use the same methods that conventional sports rights holders use to benchmark the performance of their assets.

Nielson says that the playoff rounds of major 2017 e-Sports tournaments measured by Esport24, generated $75,000 to $17 million in sponsorship value.

With companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Activision Blizzard and many more having skin the game, the growth is all but guaranteed from here.

Want to know how serious this has gotten already?

Activision Blizzard opened its Blizzard Arena last week in Burbank, California. The live event destination for video gamers had its inaugural season over the weekend, where the company brought together gamers for its Overwatch Contenders Playoffs. The Hearthstone Summer Championship that’s part of the tour is this weekend:

“The Overwatch Contenders Playoffs will run the weekend of October 7–8 and serve as the grand opening event of Blizzard Arena Los Angeles. The top Overwatch Contenders teams from Europe and North America will arrive to battle over prize pools and regional dominance as they take center stage at the Arena.

On October 13, the Summer Championship for the Hearthstone Championship Tour takes over the Arena for a full weekend of championship competition with $250,000 on the line. The players left standing will be the final entrants in the Hearthstone World Championship, scheduled for early 2018.” – Activision Blizzard

If you have any level of interest in video gaming, this is the segment you need to keep an eye on.

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