eSports is now a $612 million business - Superdata

Global audience now stands at 134 million as Western markets are seeing more growth

According to Superdata's new report on the growing eSports market, globally eSports now has an audience of around 134 million people and the business generates about $612 million. The report notes that Asia is still the dominant force in eSports with $374 million of the global share, but the West is starting to accelerate its growth as well. Currently North America accounts for $143 million, Europe is at $73 million and the rest of the world totals $24 million.

"North America and Europe have recently seen a tremendous rise in the number of people who watch eSports online and attend live tournaments," Superdata noted. "Popular digital game titles like DotA 2 and League of Legends enjoy a massive audience that regularly watches or participates in competitions. The emergence of competitive gaming presents publishers with a new avenue to extend the user experience and allows brands to engage a generation of consumers that spend little time with traditional forms of entertainment."

While eSports continues to gain prominence, Superdata pointed out that as it stands now, the field is really more a marketing opportunity than a chance to drive big revenues. Organizing events and streaming content improves awareness and retention and serves as a nice compliment to other traditional and social media marketing efforts.

"In the past year, we've been working together with both our publisher clients and brand owners to map out the market for competitive gaming and help them identify key areas and opportunities," said SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen, who added that North American eSports currently sees corporate sponsorships totaling $111 million, and that 13 percent of live-stream viewers are tuning in to eSports (mostly through Twitch).

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Latest comments (2)

Peter Warman CEO & Co Founder, Newzoo4 years ago
If Superdata chooses to publish esports revenues three times that of Newzoo's global report following 9 months of work, they should explain better what the difference in scope is. It seems most is extrapolated forward from old data when Korea was in a more healthy esports state. It is so easy to (over)inflate the potential of esports. It is our joint responsibility to provide a realistic and well-founded, scoped and validated picture.
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Mark Reed Chairman, Heaven Media Ltd4 years ago
Actually I would go one step further and question much of the reports accuracy. My company is an Agency that is the market leader in helping brands reach this audience and I can speak with confidence the numbers are misguided.
Let’s start the first big statement, "from the Top viewed franchises in NA 28% are of Call of duty eSports streams" versus 9% LoL apparently and no Dota2. Honestly there is simply not a big enough competitive scene for COD for that figure to be accurate. The statement “FPS and Sports games are growing as eSports thanks to Western audiences” This is not the case and is very misleading. CS:GO has finally hit its stride with its popularity in NA and Europe, it is now taking on LoL and Dota2 but beyond that there is no FPS scene to speak of in eSports. As for 'Sports games', outside of a fair but small FIFA scene it does not really exist in comparison to MOBA. If I am wrong then please google for the last Madden or NBA online tournament and look for any streaming numbers. You won’t have any difficulty doing this for any MOBA title I assure you.
Next there is the statement of $200m monthly spend in hardware and games sales attributed eSports fans. I personally have 20 years’ experience in PC gaming hardware with all the top brands worldwide. This number is false and quite frankly there is not one hardware manufacturer that can be sure as to what percentage of their hardware is bought by an eSports fan versus a PC gamer or indeed someone that just wants a nice mouse or keyboard to play minesweeper. $58 per month on peripherals is what is quoted for this. Again to do the maths. Your average mouse from Razer or Roccat is around $65, Keyboard about the same and headset $80. So everyone replaces everything 3 times per year? I don't think so. What is worse is that within that $200m is games where that apparently breaks down to "On average, US viewers spend $125 a month on games and in-app purchases". Yes $125 per month! Think for a second that all top eSports titles (COD is not remotely a top eSports title) are free to play. So that can only be in game purchases where the average spend is $1.35 per user per month (Riot 2014). The numbers just do not make sense. Either you are including game sales of COD and Madden and making no assumption of the percentage that play\watch competitively or you are just wrong. In addition Riot will be the first to tell you that not every LoL player is an eSports fan, many people play SC2, DOTA2 and LoL but have no interest in watching eSports. So what % of Riots $1billion revenue do you want to guess is from eSports only fans? I can't nor can they.

There is so much more but allow me to also point out they should know the difference between Turtle Beach and Turtle Entertainment (see mistake in infographic).

Revenue in eSports still remains a guess at best for most of us, as revenue from advertising is hard to attribute between eSports, Online gaming or just PC gaming. Heaven Media represents top brands who focus on PC gamers with eSports being our prime target group. Trust me there is a science to reach this crowd (and not always an exact science) over a general PC gamer. For example you could not count all Twitch revenue as eSports only but a huge amount is, it is very hard to pick a % from what is a sizable revenue. Either way there is no denying the momentum that eSports has and it will continue to dominate the gaming space. As an agency we work with influencer’s on Twitch and YouTube, Community sites, eSports News sites, publishers, Devs and event companies in this area and have done for 9 years now. We lead the market in this respect. The world has clearly switched onto eSports now. Just don’t believe everything you read.
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