Esports revenue is predicted to surpass US$1 billion for the first time in 2019 as the industry begins to monetise the huge, hard-to-reach audiences which follow its leagues and tournaments.
According to data from research firm Newzoo, revenues from the global esports market are predicted to reach US$1.1 billion in 2019, up 26.7 per cent from last year.
Media rights, advertising, and sponsorship will make up around 82 per cent ($897.2 million) of the total market.
According to Newzoo’s 2019 Global esports market report, released last week, sponsorships make up the largest slice of the revenue pie, but sporting rights is the fastest growing segment, up 41.8 per cent.
The in-depth report into the esports economy shows that audiences will grow to 453.8 million worldwide in 2019, up 15 per cent year-on-year. The APAC region will account for 57 per cent of esports enthusiasts.
“Esports’ impressive audience and viewership growth is a direct result of an engaging viewership experience untethered to traditional media,” says Newzoo CEO Peter Warman.
“Plenty of leagues and tournaments now have huge audiences, so companies are positioning themselves to directly monetise these esports enthusiasts. While this began happening last year, the market is constantly expanding on its early learnings. The result: 2019 will be the first billion-dollar year for esports, a market that will continue to attract brands across all industries.”
The growth is tipped to continue as esports attracts more interest from outside the gaming community. According to the report, both digital broadcasters and TV media companies have already started to compete for esports content and the extent to which these deals will generate a direct return on investment will impact the pace of media rights growth.
On its current trajectory, Newzoo estimates the esports market will reach $1.8 billion by 2022. If any of these factors accelerate, a more optimistic scenario places revenues at $3.2 billion.