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Sport and Esports - Thematic Research

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  • May 2021
  • Region: Global
  • GlobalData
  • ID: 5351349
Esports has been one of the fastest growing sectors in all of business, as the popularity of video games and online streaming continues to soar. The launch of major streaming platforms in the last decade such as Twitch and Facebook Gaming has allowed video game fans to watch the best of the best compete in high stakes events at their favourite games, and with COVID-19 forcing many to stay at home for the last year, the sector has only become more popular, with 2020 recording a greater number of hours watched and streamed of esports tournament by fans in recent years. While this has been a benefit, the lack of events being held at venues has also been a negative for esports in the past year. In addition to all of this, professional sports teams are looking to make greater investments in the world of esports, as its popularity grows. COVID-19 accelerated sports teams interests in esports following a global shutdown of sports in 2020.

The general purpose of this report is to serve as a look at recent developments in the esports sector, and the intersection between competitive gaming and professional sports teams. In particular, a general overview of the esports industry is provided, as well as recent developments and news, and the impacts of COVID-19 on the scene of competitive gaming, both positive and negative, as well as a look at the potential future.

The publisher defines esports as organized multiplayer video game competitions, usually involving professional players. Although organized video game competitions have been part of the gaming industry for several decades, the trend of professional gaming did not emerge into the mainstream until the late 2000s. Nowadays, game developers design some of their products specifically around esports, and events are watched by more than 400 million people around the world.

Other sections of the report focus on specifically on some of esports most popular titles and how their popularity, as well as the money involved, has grown in recent years. Also discussed are prevalent themes within the world of esports, and potential issues facing the sector in the coming years. The industry analysis section focuses on the potential future financial growth of esports, and the potential growth in popularity for many of esports biggest games going forward.

An analysis of the intersection of between sports and esports, as well as recent developments in the world of esports

Key Highlights
  • Esports is witnessing rapid growth, in both investment and popularity. Figures from Newzoo predict that global esports revenues could increase by 14.5% year-on-year in 2021, up to $1.08 billion, of which $833.6 million will come from sponsorship and media rights deals.
  • The first League of Legends events held in 2011 had prize money of $100,000 up for grabs, which grew exponentially in the following years. By 2017, the total prize pool of money had grown to $5 million.
  • The only revenue streams COVID-19 had a negative effect on with regards to esports revenues were publisher fees and merchandise/tickets, due to the lack of live events. Merchandise and tickets, for obvious reasons, suffered drastically, experiencing a 50.3% year-on-year drop in 2020 to $52.5m. Sponsorship and media rights revenues increased by 7.5% and 3.3% year-on-year respectively to $584.1m and $163.3m despite the pandemic.
  • The global esports audience is estimated to reach 577 million by the end of 2024, up from 436 million in 2020.
  • Esports remains a long way off North America’s other professional sports leagues, the NFL, NBA and MLB. The median value of an NHL franchise was determined to be $520 million, as opposed to these other leagues, all of which see a median value eclipsing $1.6 billion.
  • According to a report from Stream Hatchet, global esports streaming increased by 70% year-on-year in 2020, fuelled by the impact of COVID-19. Despite the return of live sport during the summer of 2020, esports viewership over this period remained high, with Twitch and Facebook Gaming seeing a cumulative year-on-year growth of 69% in viewership, compared to the summer of 2019.

  • This report provides an overview of the growth and history of esports, as well as some of the most popular games and tournaments.
  • It identifies the key trends currently dominating the esports market, broken down into industry and macroeconomic trends.
  • Also provided is a look at how professional sports leagues and teams, such as Formula One, the NBA and major football clubs like Manchester City and PSG have begun investing in esports teams and partnerships.
  • A look at the potential future of esports, as well as a comparison between many of the larger streaming platforms on which esports is broadcast.
  • A detailed look at the esports value chain, and how different areas of the sector generates revenue and business.

Reasons to Buy
  • For those wanting an in depth analysis of how the esports sector generates value, and how this has been affected by COVID-19, for better and for worse.
  • Explains the link between professional sports leagues and esports, and how that relationship will develop in the years to come.
  • The publisher’s thematic research ecosystem is a single, integrated global research platform that provides an easy-to-use framework for tracking all themes across all companies in all sectors. It has a proven track record of identifying the important themes early, enabling companies to make the right investments ahead of the competition, and secure that all-important competitive advantage.

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

2. Players

3. Thematic briefing

4. Trends
  • 4.1 Technology trends
  • 4.2 Industry trends

5. Industry Analysis
  • 5.1 Market size and growth forecasts
  • 5.2 Timeline

6. Value chain

7. Companies

8. Further reading

9. Our thematic research methodology

10. About the Publisher

11. Contact us

Companies Mentioned (Partial List)

A selection of companies mentioned in this report includes, but is not limited to:

  • Twitch
  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Microsoft
  • Valve
  • Riot Games
  • Formula One
  • NBA
  • NHL
  • Premier League
  • Activision
  • Epic Games