All About Esports – Exploring the Esports Boom
The esports industry has experienced an astonishing rise in popularity and value over the past decade, transforming from a niche gaming community to a multi-billion-dollar global phenomenon.
- Esports is experiencing rapid growth due to technological advances, increased access to gaming hardware and software, as well as the emergence of streaming platforms.
- Key factors driving growth in esports include sponsorships, advertising revenue streams such as media rights and streaming platforms, merchandise sales, and event ticketing.
- Private investments or venture capital offer potential returns but come with higher risks. Investors should consider company performance & financial health when evaluating opportunities.
Covering the different aspects of the esports ecosystem: the professional scene, the gaming community, the streaming platforms, and the business side of things. Whether you’re a fan of esports, or you want to gain a better understanding of the current state and future of the esports business, you have come to the right place.
- Esports Tournament Organizers
- Esports Streaming Platforms
- The History of RTS Esports
- The History of Battle Royale Esports
- The Biggest Esports Sponsors
- How to Find a Job in Esports
The Rise of Esports
Esports, or competitive gaming, has seen meteoric growth in recent years, with the industry now worth billions of dollars. Once considered a niche pastime, esports now boasts a massive following, with millions of enthusiasts tuning in to watch their favorite teams and players compete in global tournaments. The rise of esports can be largely attributed to technological advances, increased access to gaming hardware and software, and the emergence of streaming platforms like Twitch.
While esports continues to be a contentious topic for some, with debates still ongoing as to whether it should be considered a “real” sport, the industry’s growth is undeniable. Esports has even begun to gain recognition from the International Olympic Committee, with the Olympic Virtual Series being introduced in 2021.
With such rapid expansion and increasing mainstream acceptance, it’s essential to understand the various factors contributing to this phenomenal growth.
Evolution of Esports
The roots of esports can be traced back to the early days of competitive video gaming, with the inaugural esports tournament being the 1990 Nintendo World Championships. The landscape of esports has evolved dramatically since then, with the emergence of various games and genres, as well as the development of sophisticated gaming hardware and software. The proliferation of high-speed internet connections has played an essential role in broadening the reach of esports, allowing players from around the world to connect and compete with one another.
The introduction of streaming platforms, such as Twitch, has been a game-changer in the esports industry, providing an accessible and interactive platform for viewers to watch and engage with esports content. The global reach and live streaming capabilities of these platforms have played an instrumental role in popularizing esports and attracting attention from mainstream media, sponsors, and investors.
Key Factors Driving Growth
The expansion of esports has been driven by several key factors, including the rapid development of technology, which has enabled faster internet speeds and improved gaming hardware and software. These technological advances, coupled with the increased availability of gaming hardware and software, have allowed more people to participate in esports, leading to a larger and more engaged audience.
Another significant factor driving growth in the esports industry is the emergence of streaming platforms, such as Twitch, which have made it easier for viewers to watch and interact with esports content. As a result, esports events and competitions now garner massive audiences, with millions of fans tuning in from around the world.
This widespread viewership has further fueled the growth of the industry, attracting the attention of sponsors, advertisers, and investors who see potential in this rapidly expanding market.
Popular Esports Games
The world of esports encompasses a diverse range of games and genres, with some titles garnering more attention and success than others. The most popular esports games can be broadly categorized into three main genres: Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBAs), such as League of Legends and Dota 2; First-Person Shooters (FPS), including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch; and Sports Simulations, featuring games like FIFA and NBA 2K.
Each of these genres offers its unique blend of gameplay, strategy, and entertainment value, contributing to the overall appeal and growth of the esports industry.
Esports Game Guides
Guides to the most popular and competitive video games in the esports scene. From first-person shooters to real-time strategy games, we cover a wide range of games that are played at the highest level of competition.
- Fortnite: A Beginner’s Guide
- DOTA 2: A Beginner’s Guide
- Quake Champions: A Beginner’s Guide
- Apex Legends: A Beginner’s Guide
- Valorant: A Beginner’s Guide
- Arena of Valor: A Beginner’s Guide
Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBAs)
Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas, or MOBAs, are a subgenre of strategy video games that pit two teams of players against each other on a predefined map. These games require players to work together, using strategy and coordination to achieve victory. Some of the most popular MOBAs include League of Legends, developed by Riot Games, and Dota 2, a game produced by Valve Corporation.
These MOBA games have cultivated massive and dedicated fan bases, with their competitive scenes boasting impressive viewership numbers and substantial prize pools for tournaments. The popularity of MOBAs in the esports realm can be attributed to their engaging gameplay, the depth of strategy involved, and the thrilling matches that often result from high-level competition.
First-Person Shooters (FPS)
First-Person Shooters (FPS) are another popular genre within the esports industry, focusing on gun and weapon-based combat from a first-person perspective. Iconic titles like Doom, Wolfenstein, and Quake paved the way for the genre, which has since seen further development with the emergence of games like Destiny and Apex Legends. FPS games have a long history in the esports scene, with competitive tournaments and leagues dating back to the early days of the industry.
Popular FPS games in the esports realm today include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch, both of which boast robust competitive scenes and global tournaments. These games have attracted legions of fans, with their high-stakes matches and fast-paced, action-packed gameplay providing ample entertainment for viewers and players alike.
Esports Live Streams
Watch professional and casual players from around the world compete in a variety of popular esports games such as League of Legends, Dota 2, Valorant, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, as well as coverage of the biggest esports tournaments and events.
The Esports Ecosystem
The esports ecosystem is a complex and interconnected web of players, teams, organizations, sponsors, and partners, all of whom play a vital role in the success and growth of the industry. From the individual players honing their skills in pursuit of professional careers to the teams and organizations that provide the infrastructure and support for competitive gaming, each component of the ecosystem contributes to the overall health and development of esports.
In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the various elements that comprise the esports ecosystem and explore their roles and significance.
Esports players are the heart and soul of the industry, dedicating countless hours to honing their skills and competing at the highest level of their respective games. These players often begin their careers as amateur gamers, gradually rising through the ranks of online and local competitions before breaking into the professional scene. The life of an esports player can be demanding, with some dedicating up to 14 hours a day to training and practice in pursuit of peak performance.
While the potential rewards of a professional esports career can be alluring, the path to success is fraught with challenges. Players must not only contend with the intense competition for limited spots on professional teams but also manage the physical and mental demands of their chosen profession. Repetitive strain injuries, burnout, and the pressure to perform at the highest level can all take their toll on players, highlighting the importance of proper training, support, and self-care in the esports industry.
Esports Teams and Organizations
Esports teams and organizations play a crucial role in the industry, providing the infrastructure, resources, and support necessary for players to compete at the highest level. These organizations often scout and sign talented players, assembling competitive rosters that participate in regional and global tournaments. Successful teams, such as Evil Geniuses, Fnatic, and Optic Gaming, have become household names in the esports world, boasting dedicated fanbases and impressive track records of success.
However, the relationship between players and organizations can sometimes be fraught with challenges. In some cases, players may experience mistreatment or inadequate support, leading to burnout and dissatisfaction. Additionally, the financial stability of organizations can vary, with some struggling to secure sponsorships and revenue streams necessary to support their teams.
Despite these challenges, the importance of esports teams and organizations in fostering the growth and success of the industry cannot be overstated.
Sponsors and Partnerships
Sponsors and partnerships are essential components of the esports ecosystem, providing invaluable financial support and promotional opportunities for teams, organizations, and players. Companies and brands across various industries have recognized the potential of esports as a marketing channel, investing in advertising and sponsorship deals to reach the industry’s massive and engaged audience.
Esports sponsorships typically cover a wide range of support, from providing gaming hardware and merchandise to covering travel expenses for tournaments. High-profile brands such as Logitech, Razer, Red Bull, and Adidas have all entered the esports market, leveraging the industry’s popularity and reach to promote their products and services.
As the esports industry continues to grow, the role of sponsors and partnerships in sustaining and propelling its success will only become more vital.
Esports Revenue Streams
The esports industry relies on a diverse array of revenue streams to support its growth and expansion. From advertising and sponsorships to media rights and streaming platforms, each revenue source plays a crucial role in sustaining the esports ecosystem and funding the various components that comprise it.
In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the primary revenue streams in esports and explore their significance within the industry.
Advertising and Sponsorships
Advertising and sponsorships are two marketing strategies utilized by companies to promote their products or services in the esports industry. Advertising involves the payment for space or time to showcase an advertisement, while sponsorships involve providing support to an event or organization in exchange for recognition.
The esports industry is an attractive platform for advertisers and sponsors thanks to its massive viewership and highly engaged audience. The growth of advertising revenue in esports is projected to reach $224 million by 2020, highlighting the increasing interest and investment from companies and brands in the industry.
As esports continues to grow in popularity, the potential for advertising and sponsorships to contribute even more significantly to the industry’s revenue streams seems promising.
Media Rights and Streaming Platforms
Media rights and streaming platforms are another key revenue stream in the esports industry, with companies paying for the right to broadcast esports content across various platforms. The rise of streaming platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming has made it easier than ever for esports fans to watch and engage with their favorite games and competitions, driving up the value of media rights in the process.
Media rights revenue in esports is projected to grow substantially, from $95 million in the current year to $340 million by 2020. This increase in media rights revenue highlights the growing demand for esports content and the potential for even further growth in the industry.
As esports continues to capture the attention of audiences around the world, the role of media rights and streaming platforms in generating revenue will only become more critical.
Merchandise Sales and Event Ticketing
Merchandise sales and event ticketing are two additional revenue streams that contribute to the overall financial health of the esports industry. Merchandise sales refer to the selling of products related to the event or sport, such as apparel, memorabilia, and other items, while event ticketing involves the selling of tickets to attend the event, either in-person or virtually.
The sale of merchandise and event tickets can generate significant income for esports events and organizations, with fans eager to support their favorite teams and players through the purchase of branded items and event attendance. As the esports industry continues to grow and attract larger audiences, the potential for merchandise sales and event ticketing to generate even more revenue seems likely.
Opportunities in Esports Investing
As the esports industry continues to grow and evolve, so too do the opportunities for investment. From publicly traded companies to private investments and venture capital, there are various ways for investors to gain exposure to the lucrative world of esports.
However, investing in such a unique industry comes with its own set of risks and challenges. In this section, we’ll explore the various investment opportunities available in esports and discuss the considerations investors should keep in mind when navigating this rapidly expanding market.
Publicly Traded Esports Companies
Investing in publicly traded esports companies provides a relatively straightforward way for investors to gain exposure to the industry. Companies such as Activision Blizzard, Tencent Holdings, Take-Two Interactive, and Electronic Arts are all publicly traded and have significant involvement in the esports market. Allied Esports, a public esports organization, is another option for investors looking to invest directly in the esports industry.
While investing in publicly traded companies can offer a more accessible entry point for investors, it’s essential to carefully consider the potential risks and rewards associated with each company. Factors such as company performance, financial health, and overall market trends should all be taken into account when evaluating potential investments in esports companies.
Private Investments and Venture Capital
Another avenue for investing in the esports industry is through private investments and venture capital. This type of investment can involve backing individual teams, organizations, or even specific players, as well as investing in esports-focused startups and companies. Media companies, angel investors, sports celebrities, professional sports teams and venture capital funds are all major sources of investment in esports. Private capital investments also play an important role in providing the necessary finances for the sport.
While private investments and venture capital can offer significant potential for returns, they also come with a higher degree of risk compared to investing in publicly traded companies. The esports industry is still relatively new, and many startups and organizations may face unique challenges or struggle to achieve long-term success. Investors should carefully weigh the potential risks and rewards of each investment opportunity before committing their capital to the esports industry.
Navigating Esports Investment Opportunities
One area of esports investing that has attracted considerable attention is esports gambling. While esports gambling is currently illegal in the United States under the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), Nevada legalized esports gambling in June 2017. The potential for growth in this market is significant, but investors should be aware of the legal and ethical issues surrounding esports gambling, as well as the potential risks associated with investing in an unregulated industry.
To identify potential investment opportunities in the esports industry, investors can leverage their personal networks, word-of-mouth, and industry research. By staying informed about the latest trends, developments, and opportunities within the esports market, investors can make more informed decisions and better position themselves to capitalize on the lucrative potential of this rapidly expanding industry.
Gaming Gear Reviews
Reviews of the best esports equipment and technology.
WHAT IS ESPORTS?
Esports, or electronic sports, is a form of organized competitive video gaming. It typically involves teams or individuals competing in tournaments for cash prizes and spectators.
It operates on the same principle as traditional sports with its own unique competitive elements.
HOW TO WATCH ESPORTS?
Add streaming platforms Twitch, Youtube Gaming, and Theta to your browser bookmarks to have fast and easy access to esports live streams. Unlike traditional sports events, esports events are not often broadcasted by your local TV channel.
WHAT ESPORTS IS MOST FAMOUS?
League of Legends is arguably the most famous esports title, with its annual World Championship drawing millions of viewers each year. The tournament sees the top teams from around the world compete for the title of ‘World Champion’ and a sizeable prize pool. As such, it is seen as the pinnacle of competitive League of Legends play and one of the most prestigious tournaments in esports.
The tournament is highly competitive, with teams from all over the world vying for the title. The stakes are high, with the winning team taking home a large prize pool and the title of ‘World Champion’.
DO ESPORTS GAMERS MAKE MONEY?
Yes, esports gamers can make money. Professional players can earn significant salaries from tournament prize pools and sponsorships, while even recreational players are able to monetize their skills.
WHAT IS THE SIZE OF THE ESPORTS INDUSTRY?
The value of the esports industry was estimated to be in the $950 million range in both 2019 and 2020. But in 2021 it surpassed $1 billion for the first time ever.
The value refers to the global revenue the industry creates. Currently, China is the market leader by size followed by the US. Western Europe holds 3rd place in 2021. All regions combined account for approximately 80% of the total $1.08 billion.
The market is expected to continue growing at a fast, double-digit pace. This means, by the time of 2024 analysts believe the market will be in the $1.6 billion range.
WHICH COUNTRY IS NUMBER 1 IN GAMING?
The United States is the biggest gaming market in terms of revenues.
Statista – a leading provider of market and consumer data – estimated that in 2022 the United States generated a revenue of 54.9 billion U.S. dollars, while China, driven by Tencent, generated an estimated 44 billion U.S. dollars in annual gaming revenues.
WHICH COUNTRY HAS THE BEST ESPORTS PLAYERS?
By a clear margin, China has the best esports players of all time – when looking at the amount of prize money awarded.
- China – $236,259,378.53, with 6,693 players,
- United States – $223,124,251.94, with 23,536 players
- South Korea – $125,602,759.61, with 4,999 players.”
The numbers are taken from Esportsearnings.com
WHAT ARE THE POPULAR ESPORTS GAMES?
League of Legends is probably the most popular esports today and has over 80 million monthly active players worldwide. Fortnite with 70 million monthly active players takes the clear 2nd place.
The amount of players playing video games does not tell the whole story of popularity though. Considering the total prize money awarded the title goes to DOTA 2. So far over $270 million has been given away in prize money from over 1 500 tournaments. CS:GO and Fortnite is reasonable runners-up. Both boast over $100 million given away in tournaments.
The average prize money per tournament is lower in CS:GO though, compared to DOTA 2 or Fortnite. This is due to a number of smaller CS:GO tournaments organized, according to Esportsearnings.com.
Another measure of popularity is viewer count. League of Legends is the most-watched game in hours – by a mile. Considering it also has the most active monthly users, it is easy to give it the title of the most popular esports game. According to open sources, 208 million hours of League of Legends were watched in just October 2021. The same figure for DOTA 2 was just short of 100 million.
WHAT ARE THE POPULAR ESPORTS GAMES THAT CAN BE PLAYED ON MOBILE?
Some popular mobile esports games include PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty Mobile, Vainglory, Free Fire, Clash of Clans, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and Arena of Valor.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ESPORTS TEAMS?
All-time best earners are Team Liquid with almost $40 million in prize money at the time of writing. They are true veterans in the esports space, having started in 2000. Team Liquid competes in 14 of the top games including DOTA 2, CS:GO, and Fortnite.
Only one team comes even close and that’s OG. They have won over $35 million in prizemoney and several major titles. The team’s slogan: Against All Odds tells their story. Going from zero to having millions of fans around the globe does not come for free. OG later signed multi-million sponsorship deals with BMW and Red Bull.
Lastly, Fnatic is a guaranteed fan favorite, considering their thesis to keep 1,5% ownership of the club to fans. Their all-time earnings as a team are on the better side of $17 million. Crypto.com also believes in them, considering the $15 million deal they signed for 5 years.
What makes esports all more interesting is the relationship fans can build with teams. We like to feel united and share success. Supporting and following your favorite team enables you to immerse yourself in the sport.
In esports, money talks when measuring success. The higher the prize, the more prestigious the tournament is. And naturally, the harder it becomes to win it. It’s simple and makes it extremely easy to compare teams’ performances.
IS ESPORTS JUST FOR PC?
No, esports can be played on a variety of platforms including PC, console, and mobile devices. Popular esports titles like League of Legends, Fortnite, and Overwatch are available on PC and console, while games like PUBG Mobile are played on mobile devices. There are also esports tournaments for games that are exclusive to certain platforms, such as the annual Halo Championship Series for Xbox players.
ARE MOBILE ESPORTS CONSIDERED AS “REAL” ESPORTS?
Yes, mobile esports are considered legitimate esports. Many mobile games have dedicated professional scenes and tournaments, and the skill level required to compete at the highest level is just as high as it is for PC or console games.