Even before the pandemic, the global eSports audience has been rising steadily, with more and more viewers tuning in to watch some of the best gamers in the world. However, the COVID-19 has fuelled the entire market’s growth, as millions of people turned to eSports and video games amid the lockdown.
According to data presented by Safe Betting Sites, the global eSports audience is set to reach 474 million viewers in 2021, almost a 20% increase since the COVID-19 struck. The increasing trend is set to continue in the following years, with the number of eSports viewers growing by another 20% and reaching 577 million by 2024.
Number of Esports Enthusiasts to Jump by 45% in Five Years
After the pandemic hit, eSports and gaming became one of the most popular in-door and online activities for millions of people isolated in their homes. In fact, the Newzoo data revealed more than 38 million people started watching eSports in 2020 only, with the total number of viewers reaching 435.9 million last year. The year 2021 is expected to witness the same growth rate, with the global eSports audience rising to 474 million people.
Almost half of eSport’s current audience, or 234 million people, consider themselves eSports enthusiasts. However, this figure is set to grow even more in the next few years. Statistics show the number of eSports enthusiasts worldwide is forecast to jump to 285.7 million by 2024, a 45% increase in five years.
The Newzoo predicts the number of occasional eSports viewers to rise to 240 million in 2021, a 40 million increase in two years. By 2024, this figure is expected to jump to over 291 million, or 45% more than before the pandemic struck.
Esports Revenues to Grow by 50% and Hit $1.6B by 2024
Although the COVID-19 fuelled the growth of the global eSports audience, the cancellations and postponement of events amid the lockdowns caused eSports revenues to drop by 0.8% YoY to $950.3 million in 2020. However, this figure is expected to recover and hit over $1bn in 2021.
As the largest revenue stream, Esports sponsorships are forecast to hit $641 million in 2021, up from $584.1 million a year ago. Media rights are forecast to jump by almost 18% YoY to $192.6 million in 2021, compared to $163.3 million in 2020. Publisher fees are set to grow by 16% YoY to $126.6 million in 2021. Merchandise and ticket revenues are forecast to hit $66.6 million, 26.8% more than a year ago.
However, digital revenues are set to witness the most impressive growth in 2021, rising by CARG of 50% to $32.3 million. Streaming revenues follow with a 26% jump to $25.1 million, up from $19.9 million in 2020. By 2024, global eSports revenues are forecast to jump by another 50% and hit over $1.6bn value.