Global eSports Market to Reach $1.9B by 2018: Report

The latest influential eSports Market Brief by SuperData is out and it touts big numbers for the growing eSports business world: Estimated global revenue of $1.9B by 2018.

According to the report, the biggest revenue driver remains brand advertising, which “accounts for 77% of the market, and is on course to reach $1B by 2017E,” says SuperData’s Director of Research and Consumer Insights Stephanie Llamas. However, the report states that the numbers also will be driven by growing “direct revenue source sources such as betting sites and amateur tournament platforms.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 4.41.23 PMAnd then there’s the increasing involvement of major broadcasters like TBS and ESPN.

Says Llamas: “eSports are becoming more mainstream and that has attracted traditional media channels like TBS and ESPN. So far, fans have had to seek out platforms to watch tournaments and players, but now people can stumble upon eSports while flipping through channels. Even old-fashioned brands are taking notice and there is a growing interest in advertising to the coveted millennial male demographic on a medium they know well.”

SuperData values the global market today at $748M. Regionally, “Asia, worth $321M, is slowly giving way to western investment, leading North America and Europe to account for almost $400M, over half of global revenues.”

According to Fortune: “The current $748.8 million global eSports economy is overwhelmingly driven by sponsorships and advertising, which generate $578.6 million (78%) of revenues. The new Fantasy eSports and eSports betting industries account for $55.8 million (7%) of revenues, just edging out the $53.8 million (7%) in prize pools. Amateur and microtournaments generate $27.7 million (4%), followed by $17 million (2%) in merchandise and $15.9 million (2%) in ticket sales.”

Llamas is quoted by Fortune: “The Asian market is still growing, but it’s saturated,” Llamas says. “With live-streaming channels like Twitch and YouTube, we’re seeing a lot of Western companies investing in eSports and there’s a lot of room to grow in those markets.”

Interestingly, ticket sales for live events represent a very small percentage of global revenue, at $15.9MM, VentureBeat reports. And while that leads to grow via “other means,” VentureBeat also states: “For investors, those other means is where the excitement is.”

VentureBeat quotes the SuperData report: “Funding for various startups and platforms jumpstarted the esports market, equaling an estimated $150 million year-to-date. Multiple esports and traditional sports betting platforms like Unikrn, Draftkings, and FanDuel have emerged this year. These platforms are receiving multimillion dollar investments from prominent figures like Ashton Kutcher and Mark Cuban.”

The full SuperData report “breaks down the revenue distribution between direct consumer monetization (e.g., fantasy and betting sites, merchandise) and indirect revenue (e.g., advertising).” Key findings include:

  • “The global eSports market is worth $748M and will reach $1.9B by 2018E.”
  • “Investors inject over $150M of capital into new platforms like eSports betting and fantasy sites, but these sites fall short of expectations and earn $56M this year.”
  • “As viewership for 2015E grows to 188M, pro players and teams reach celebrity status.”
  • “Amateur tournament platforms earn $28M but face an overcrowded market as supply exceeds demand.”
  • “Publishers hope to make Mobile eSports the next frontier, gaining 19% of the US eSports audience.”
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