Ministry of Sport

2019, Esports First Billion Dollar Year

Having already surpassed the yearly revenues generated by the film industry and equaling revenues from traditional sports, the global esports industry is on track to achieve US$1.1 billion in revenue in 2019, according to a new report.

Gaming intelligence agency, NewZoo, has released the 2019 Global Esports Market Report which is predicting record revenues for competitive gaming, along with the expectation that North America’s esports market will grow to US$409.1 million in revenue over the coming year – almost double the amount expected in China.

Jurre Pannekeet, a senior marketing analyst for NewZoo, said that many esports leagues are shifting their focus towards monetising their audiences having worked hard to establish a loyal fanbase.

“Esports has always provided an engaging viewing experience to an audience no longer tied to traditional media,” he said.

“This has propelled the massive growth in esports viewership and audience numbers.

“This transition started in 2018, but this year, the industry will take its early learnings and expand upon them.

“As a result, 2019 will be esports’ first billion-dollar year, and its vigor has attracted brands and companies across every industry.

“Non-endemic brands sponsored esports organisations in droves last year, which will continue in 2019.”

The report also claims that $US897.2 million of that growth across all esports markets (82 per cent) will be drawn from expanded media rights, advertising, and sponsorship.

Together, these sectors are expected to increase to US$1.5 billion by 2022, and will represent 87 per cent of total revenue share from the esports sector.

The League of Legends World Championship was 2018’s biggest tournament by live viewership hours on Twitch, with 53.8 million hours, while the Overwatch League was the most-watched league by live viewership hours on Twitch, generating 79.5 million hours.

The total prize money in 2018 reached $150.8 million, a significant increase from 2017’s $112.1 million.

The global average revenue per gamer will also grow by almost nine percent to US$5.45. Last year, US$54.7 million was generated in ticket revenues across 737 major esports events, down from US$58.9 million in 2017.

While esports has the luxury to easily experiment with its monetisation option, Pannekeet says that many of the industry’s innovations will cross the divide into traditional sports in the coming years.

“It is already happening,” he said.

“The sports industry is currently adapting direct-consumer monetisation strategies that spanned from esports and gaming, aiming to shift revenues away from linear media rights into direct digital spending.

Shaun Carney

Shaun Carney