And those amounts are set to get even bigger this year, as a recent report by PwC revealed that the money made from eSports will grow by 43% in 2016, pulling in as much as $463 million.
The biggest contributor to the sport’s revenue will remain the US.
“The US is leading this global market with a 38% share of revenues, according to figures from research firm Newzoo. Company CEO Peter Warman forecasts the US will maintain its lead and generate $175 million in eSports revenue this year from online advertising, sponsorships, media rights, merchandise, tickets, and additional publisher investment,” the report states.
The report also touched on the tricky subject if whether eSports can even be classified as a ‘sport’.
“The gaming community has fought long and hard for legitimacy in the sports world. Take, for example, ESPN’s recent investment in eSports. While many fans were excited about the national platform, equally as many X Games fans claimed that eSports, while competitive, are not legitimate sports or ‘action sports’. Despite the controversy among the community, ESPN moved forward with its decision,” PwC said.
An unlikely person has also endorsed the activity as a ‘sport’: David Stern, former commissioner of the National Basketball Association, explained that it fulfills all the criteria needed to be classified as such.
“Of course it is a ‘sport.’ It fills arenas and stadia, has an OTT network built on it (Twitch), and there is a robust market in team purchases that seems to be developing,” he said.
While gamers have competed against one another for as long as games have been around, as soon as it had an official name – in this case eSports – more people became aware of it. The report said that total awareness jumped to 30% after the official definition was given.
Interestingly, the report also said that more women identified with eSports than men.
“22% of women surveyed say they’re involved with eSports vs. 18% of men. While this difference is relatively small, it could indicate an early trend that women are just as, if not more engaged with eSports than their male counterparts,” it said.
With eSports growing larger year after year, it is rather exciting to see that corporations, advertiser and people in general are getting behind something that was deemed a hobby until only a couple of years ago.