The rise of eSports – From on the pitch to behind to the screen 17th November, 2016

By 2019, the eSports industry is expected to hit $1.23 billion in value according to SuperData reports. Considering electronic sports was not considered a legitimate form of organised competition over the past 10 years, the industry is growing at an alarming rate.

ESports is growing 38% in viewership and 42% in revenue year on year. The reason for its success in such a short space of time resides in its platform being incredibly accessible and inclusive. Regardless of size, age, gender or disability no individual is denied access of taking part, therefore the potential for the industry to develop in scale is limitless.

There are even signs to suggest that the world of eSports is taking over the traditional sporting industry. Twitch, the world’s leading video platform and community for eSports gamer’s, hosts more than 45 million users every month to broadcast, watch and chat. With data recorded by Twitch analysts, the average audience member of this platform spends 120 minutes a day tuning into this channel, which is only marginally less than the average person watches TV in the UK.

Sport is typically associated with athletic ability, however now that we are progressing to a more digital age, the way we perceive and participate in sport is altering. This is having a substantial effect on younger generations, who are now becoming heavily integrated with the use of technology and gaming. Since 2013 85% of children in households aged 8 to 15 owned a gaming console. With technological influence growing stronger, a new world of organised competition is emerging within the ‘sporting’ sector.

The rise of eSports has opened up numerous opportunities for participants as they find themselves with the chance to become professionals. Like all professional competitors, eSports athletes require time to train and develop their skills. Sponsorship acts as the foundation to sustain themselves as professional athletes, allowing them to commit their time and resource in becoming the best in the world!

With organised events celebrating competitions and leagues, eSports gaming stars can be earning up to 6 figures in sponsorships in addition to prize money, competing in sold out stadiums of up to 45,000 fans plus.

Global brands such as INTEL, IGN, YouTube, Google, Microsoft and Coca Cola have already seized the opportunity to sponsor eSports platforms, creating sustainable partnerships, and driving revenue and awareness to a key audience. Brands within a variety of differentiating sectors are now seeking to sink their teeth into this industry.

In the next coming decade, eSports is expected to be televised in every household. Brands world-wide are pursing early sponsorship contracts with eSports properties before markets become saturated and grow increasingly harder to access. The prospect of eSports taking over traditional forms of sport, in both participation and industry value is becoming reality.