The eSports market has been booming in recent years and shows no signs of slowing down as such events are gaining traction with millions of fans around the globe. All the more so during the Coronavirus pandemic when people had no other choice but to look for alternative ways to entertain after global sporting events were canceled.
The number of viewers that tune in to watch their favorite games being played increases by leaps and bounds. The sector grows so rapidly also because of the increasing adoption of portable devices and computers among young people.
Other segments that should also be considered when discussing the generated revenue are the sale of digital and physical copies, in-game purchases, subscription services, and consumer spending on video games.
The eSports market is maturing in entirely new ways, and new revenue streams emerge all the time. Streaming and digital goods are among the most recently introduced growth drivers. The growing availability of online streaming platforms is among the major engines for drivers. The mobile eSports expansion, new popular franchises, and the rise of eSports in growing markets like Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia should be factored in while discussing the growing eSports audience.
As the eSports market matures, there are several trends that should always be considered when you want to get a proper understanding of it. Here, we will provide some key insights into the audiences eSports attract using various criteria, as well as the way the market has evolved in the past couple of years.
Mobile eSports also sees massive growth, and we will present more information about its expansion in the past few years and projections for its further growth. Additionally, we will provide some forecasts about the future development of the eSports market.
eSports Audience Size Worldwide
- The number of people who grow interested in watching eSports increases by the minute, and in 2020, their number was just 235.7 million people. A survey found that the eSports audience continued to grow in the next two years, and in 2021 it reached 489.5 million people. Just a year later, the number of viewers of eSports around the globe was 532 million. By 2025, the audiences eSports attract are expected to continue increasing at a fast pace and ultimately reach 640.8 million people.
- Estimates show that more than half of the eSports viewers come from the Asia Pacific region. Around 16% of eSports viewers come from Europe, while the share of viewers from North America is 12%.
- In 2023, user penetration is estimated to hit 7.6%. By 2027, the user penetration is set to exceed 9%.
- In September 2020, an increase of more than 60% in the interest in eSports among fans aged under 17 was reported. An increase in the portion of eSports fans aged 25-34 was also reported, and more than 40% of respondents said that their interest in eSport was heightened.
- A survey conducted in the US in 2022 found that more than 65% of respondents who were familiar with the term eSports had never attended such an event. The share of people who said they know about eSports and have attended such an event in the past couple of weeks was just around 9%.
- A 2022 survey found that the average amount that was invested in eSports by European fans was €29. Hardcore viewers spent most of this money on events.
- In 2022, occasional eSports viewers from Europe spent around €7 per month, while hardcore fans spent almost €30 per month.
- According to the available data, in 2022, over 50% of all eSports viewers in Europe are millennials. Baby boomers, on the other hand, were just 4% of all viewers.
- The eSports business was also shaken up by the Coronavirus pandemic, and in 2021, more than 45% of people believed that the main cause for the growing investment in eSports will be the Covid friction at live events.
eSports Live Streaming Audience in Numbers
|662.6 million people||809.6 million people|
|921.2 million people|
|1,412.6 million people|
- According to a survey conducted in 2019, a considerable share of Internet users in the Philippines are keen on watching live streams and their proportion was 49%. The Philippines were followed by Indonesia, where the share of Internet users who watched live streams was around 40%. India ranked third, and the Internet users were 39%.
- In 2019, Mexico was the non-Asian country with the biggest share of Internet users who are interested in watching live streams. According to the available information, their portion was 29%, and the figure coincides with the worldwide average.
The Number of eSports Viewers Based on Their Type
The number of eSports viewers has sharply increased in the past few years, and the upwards trend is observed not only when it comes to the number of eSports enthusiasts but also when it comes to occasional viewers.
- The number of eSports enthusiasts is estimated to reach 318.1 million people by 2025.
- The share of occasional eSports viewers is expected to hit 322,7 million people by 2025.
While the number of occasional viewers jumped to 249.5 million people in 2021, in 2022, it reached 270.9 million. The number of people who are forecast to become occasional eSports viewers by 2025 is 322.7 million.
- Around 46% of eSports enthusiasts are women.
- eSports viewers in the US are estimated to reach 34.8 million in 2023.
- According to research conducted in 2021, four in five (around 80%) of Americans have never heard of eSports or say they are not fans at all.
- In 2023, the US Internet users who are expected to watch eSports are forecast to reach 15.5%, which is around one in every seven Internet users. Just for comparison, in 2018, the share of Internet users who watched eSports was around 9.2%. In 2021, the proportion of those keen on watching eSports rose to approximately 13.4%.
- According to research conducted in 2020, the share of sports industry leaders worldwide who said their organizations have already engaged with eSports exceeded 60%.
- A survey carried out in 2022 found that more than 86% of respondents are already familiar with the term eSports. Just two years earlier, the proportion of Europeans who said that they are familiar with the term was around 76%.
eSports Gaming Statistics Based on Revenues and Size
Size of the Global eSports Market from 2021 to 2029
- The global eSports market size was 1.1 billion US dollars in 2020.
- In 2021, the value of the global eSports market was 1.22 billion US dollars.
- In 2022, the market value grew to 1.44 billion US dollars.
- In 2023, the revenue the eSports market is set out to generate is US$1,624.00 million.
- The projected market volume of the eSports market by 2027 is US$2,235.00 million.
- In 2029, an increase of approximately 21% is expected, and the market size is projected at 5.48 billion US dollars.
eSports Market Revenue by Segments
- According to the available data, in 2022, sponsorships were the market segment that generated the most revenue as it was valued at 837.3 million US dollars. Media rights came second, and they brought revenue of 207.8 million US dollars. When publisher fees are concerned, this segment raised 130.7 million in revenue. Another segment that generated considerably more revenue is merchandise and tickets. This is the fourth most revenue-generating segment with 107.9 million US dollars.
- Advertising and sponsorship are two segments that are expected to generate the greatest growth in 2023, and the set volume is US$894.60 million.
- In 2021, the largest contributing segment to the total eSports revenue was sponsorships, and according to the data available, that segment generated more than $640 million worth revenue, which is around 60% of all revenue.
- In 2021, media rights were set to generate over $192 million worth of revenue.
- In 2019, the largest revenue-producing segment of the US eSports market was sponsorships, and it is estimated that the segment produced over $277 million worth of revenue. Prize pools accounted for over $246 million. Events and merchandising were the least revenue-generating segments, and they produced $14.3 million.
eSports Market Revenue by Region
- The North American eSports market is expected to hit $300 million, while the European market is set to hit $138 million in 2023. In 2022, the North American eSports market was at its highest and captured more than 30% of the overall market.
- From 2022 to 2030, North America is expected to retain the lion’s share of the eSports market, and the forecast growth rate goes over the 14% threshold.
- China has quickly become one of the largest eSports powerhouses on a global scale, and back in 2022, the audience of competitive, organized gaming attracted exceeded 488 million users. An interesting tendency that is observed in China is that the share of female viewers and players in eSports leagues is heavily on the rise.
- In 2023, most revenues are expected to come from China, and the market volume is expected to reach US$445.20m.
- By 2023, the eSports market in New Zealand and Australia is projected to reach $21 million.
- By 2023, the eSports market within India is set out to reach $66 million.
- In 2023, the US eSports market is expected to see the biggest growth. Forecasts predict that the US’s eSports market share will be 28.7%, while China will be runner-up with 21.8%.
Highest Earning eSports Countries
According to a survey executed in 2022, when the prize money won in the various countries are compared, China was the one to lead the way. According to the estimates, the overall prize money won by eSports players in the country is worth $249,754,899.32.
|Country||Number of players||Overall prize money won|
|2.||The United States||24,452 Players||$232,624,072.00|
|4.||Russian Federation||4,842 Players||$66,712,804.89|
eSports Audiences Worldwide Demographics
Share of eSports Viewers Based on Their Gender
|South Korea||China||The UK||The US||Global average|
eSports Audience in Europe and by Gender
eSports Viewers in the US by Gender
Average Age of eSports Fans
- According to a survey conducted in the US in 2023, the most enthusiastic fans of eSports are aged 18-34, as their share was 20%. They were followed by respondents aged 35-44, as approximately 16% of them said that they are enthusiastic about eSports.
|Avid Fans||Casual Fans||Avid Fans||Casual Fans||Avid Fans||Casual Fans||Avid Fans||Casual Fans|
- As of April 2023, a survey conducted in the US found that around 9% of all respondents described themselves as avid eSports fans.
- Another survey that was carried out in April in the US aimed at providing key insights into the level of interest in eSports by gender. The data reveals that the male avid eSports fans among respondents were around 17%. Those who were casual fans were around 22%, while the male respondents who said they are not eSports fans at all were around 62%.
- The share of female avid sports fans is considerably smaller, and just 2% of respondents described themselves as such. Those who described themselves as casual fans were around 12%, while the female respondents who said they are not interested in eSports at all were 86%.
- The share of people who said that they are not fans of eSports at all should also be considered and unsurprisingly, the lion’s share of people who are not keen on eSports are aged 65+. They are followed by the respondents aged 45-64, and around 83% of them said that they are not interested in eSports at all. The share of respondents aged 18-34 who are not interested in eSports is the lowest and stands at 57%. As for the level of interest of those aged 35-44, the ones that are not fans are around 53%.
eSports Consumers and Players in France
- Studies show that the French are also exceptionally enthusiastic when it comes to eSports, and according to research conducted in 2020, the number of people from the country who played or watched eSports was approximately 11 million. The number of French people who only watched eSports but did not take part in such was around six million, while players totaled 1.3 million. Citizens of the country who are players and consumers at the same time were around 3.5 million people.
Avid eSports Fans in Italy
- Avid eSports fans are the ones who never miss an event, and according to the findings from a 2022 survey, the highest share or such fans in Italy are aged 31 and 40. They are followed by eSports enthusiasts aged 21 and 30 who constitute around 40% of all avid fans.
- The micro-regions from which avid eSports fans come should also be considered, and figures from a survey carried out in 2020 show that most of them come from the Islands (Sardinia and Sicily) and the South. While around 35% of avid eSports fans came from these regions, as of 2020, around 30% of avid fans were from the North-West.
Products That Are Most Frequently Purchased by eSports Fans
- According to a study executed in 2020, the most popular product Italian eSports fans preferred to buy are gaming headsets. This product was purchased by over 30% of people who took part in the survey, while the gaming mouse came in second in the list as this gaming product was bought by 23% of Italians. Some of the other most frequently bought gaming products include keyboards and gaming controllers.
Most Preferred Devices to Follow eSports
Most Popular Devices to Play eSports
- Figures show that PCs are a gaming device of choice for around 24% of gamers in Australia and China. Gamers from the UK and the US, on the other hand, are more inclined to use their smartphones. In each of these markets, the share of people who prefer to use their smartphones is approximately 36%.
- According to the available data, PCs are also incredibly popular among gamers who live in the US as around 25% of the American audience prefer to use their laptops or desktops. The popularity of PCs is lower among Brits, and the respondents who point to them as their device of choice were 20%.
|A Windows-based desktop/ laptop||Smartphone or mobile device capable of playing video games|
Popularity of Gaming-Dedicated Devices
- Under the information available, Nintendo Switch and Sony PS4 are the most chosen gaming-dedicated devices across markets like Australia, China, the UK, and US.
|Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4)||Nintendo Switch||An Apple iPad|
Most Popular Device among Italian eSports Fans
- A survey carried out in 2020 found out that the lion’s share of eSports fans prefer to use their computers to watch eSports as this was the preferred device of more than 60% of respondents. The share of fans who choose to follow eSports on their smartphones was 47%, while just around 31% of respondents used apps on their Smart TVs.
Gaming Platforms that Are Most Commonly Used by Italian eSports Fans
Most Popular Streaming Platforms for eSports
- Figures show that in 2020, eSports tournaments and events generated 2.7 billion hours of streaming.
- The most chosen streaming platform for eSports is Twitch.tv and it accounts for over 65% of streaming hours watched. YouTube ranks second as its share of the hours watched is 23%.
Which Is the Most Streamed Game Twitch
|Game||Developer||Total Hours||eSports Hours|
|2||Apex Legends||Electronic Arts||38.9M||296.3K|
|3||The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom||Nintendo||36.9M||0K|
|4||World of Warcraft||Blizzard Entertainment||51.6M||9K|
|5||Grand Theft Auto V||Rockstar Games||89.7M||0K|
|8||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive||Valve||84.9M||29.9M|
|9||League of Legends||Riot Games||121.2M||20.5M|
- In 2020, the number of people who streamed Counter-Strike: Global Offensive exceeded one million.
- In 2020, the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive viewers were around 273,000.
Global eSports Market Share by Company
The global eSports market is exceptionally fragmented, and we will provide an insight into the gaming companies and large media that hold the most considerable share of the market. In 2021, Activision Blizzard Inc held over 21% of the eSports market. The American video game company is best known for Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Overwatch, among others.
The Sweden-based digital entertainment company Modern Times Group MTG ranked second, and its share of the eSports market was slightly over 14%. According to the information available, the Chinese multinational technology and entertainment conglomerate Tencent held around 11% of the market. Valve Corporation, also known as Valve Software, held an estimated 8.03% of the market.
Back in 2022, the companies with a considerably smaller market share were Electronic Arts, Nintendo, TSM, Cloud9, Take-Two Interactive, and Riot Games Inc. The market share of these companies ranged between 3.78% and 1.4%.
eSports Organizations Worldwide Based on Their Revenue
- When the available data for 2022 is considered, it turns out that the eSports organization with the largest generated revenue is TSM. Last year, the company reported revenue of $540 million, and the eSports in which it competes are Valorant and League of Legends. Last year, Cloud 9 was runner-up in terms of revenues and the organization that mainly competes in Overwatch, Fortnite, and League of Legends reported revenue of $380 million.
- According to a study conducted in 2020, the top four eSports organizations were worth over $250 million combined. Back then, the top four eSports organizations were TSM, Cloud 9, Team Liquid, and FaZe Clan.
- In 2020, the top-earning eSports organization was Enthusiast Gaming, and its revenue was almost 2x higher in comparison to other organizations. Back then, the company had over $95 in revenue. The companies that ranked second and third are TSM and FaZe Clan and they brought $45 and $40 million, respectively.
Popularity of eSports Betting by Country
- Wagering on eSports is becoming all the rage in many countries around the globe, and the UK is not an exception. Figures show that the market has seen a huge growth between 2016 and 2019, the market is estimated to have grown at an average annual rate of 8.5%.
- The share of Brits who have placed bets on eSports has also increased, and while in 2019, they were just 6%, the survey from 2020 found out that 9% of the respondents have placed bets on eSports.
- Unsurprisingly, the biggest growth drivers are young people, and figures show that around one-fifth of people aged 18-34 have placed bets on eSports. The share of respondents who have bet on eSports jumps to 36% when males aged 18-24 are considered. The share of female respondents who have bet on eSports was considerably lower, and in 2020, these were around 6%.
- Share of respondents who said they have placed bets on eSports
- Share of male and female respondents who have placed bets on eSports
- Share of people who have bet on eSports based on their age
|Year||18 to 24||25 to 34||35 to 44||45 to 54||55 to 64||65 and over|
- According to a survey carried out in 2020, the volume of the global eSports betting market was $7.2 billion.
- In 2020, around 85% of the global eSports market was generated by the betting market.
- By 2025, the global eSports betting market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.1% and reach $20.5 billion.
- The most chosen way to place bets on eSports is through online platforms, and they account for more than 90% of all bets placed on such events.
- The most popular way of wagering on eSports events among punters is outright or match winner which requires them to select the tournament or event outcome.
- Another survey that was conducted in 2021 and focused on the enthusiasm of respondents about wagering on fantasy sports and eSports revealed that South Africans are most keen on such activities. Those who played fantasy sports for money were 39% of all respondents, while the share of people who said they are interested in wagering on eSports was 51%.
- Next in the ranking came Brazil and India, and the share of people who said they are interested in betting on eSports is equal and stands at 30%. Those who are more interested in playing fantasy sports for real money in the two countries are 29% and 27%, respectively.
- The share of respondents from Mexico and Argentina who said that they are interested in betting on eSports is 23% and 19%, respectively.
- Next come residents of the United States and Denmark, where the share of people who express their interest in wagering on eSports is 12% and 6%.
- The share of Brits who said that they are enthusiastic about wagering on eSports is considerably lower, and is just 4%.
|South Africa||India||Brazil||Mexico||Argentina||The United States||Denmark||UK|
|Interested in eSports betting||Keen on playing fantasy sports for realmoney||Interested in eSports betting||Keen on playing fantasy sports for realmoney||Interested in eSports betting||Keen on playing fantasy sports for realmoney||Interested in eSports betting||Keen on playing fantasy sports for realmoney||Interested in eSports betting||Keen on playing fantasy sports for realmoney||Interested in eSports betting||Keen on playing fantasy sports for realmoney||Interested in eSports betting||Keen on playing fantasy sports for realmoney||Interested in eSports betting||Keen on playing fantasy sports for realmoney|
The survey also revealed that respondents from South Africa are most keen on gambling. There, those who said that they really enjoy gambling exceeded 50%. Portugal and Poland come second and third, and the share of people who are enthusiastic about gambling there are 31% and 30%, respectively. Brazil, Australia, and India are some of the other countries where a considerable share of adults say they are fond of gambling.
Mobile eSports in Numbers
- Back in 2020, the downloads of mobile eSports games ran at more than 1.2 billion.
- In 2020, the biggest mobile eSports market was the Chinese, and it was estimated to be worth $1.5 billion.
- Mobile eSports is projected to gain even more traction in the coming years and the market is expected to reach $4 billion by 2025. The growth will mainly be driven by the ever-increasing accessibility of mobile gaming and the growing penetration of handheld devices.
- In 2021, the number of mobile eSports gamers exceeded 700 million.
Top eSports Team by Earnings in 2022
- Tundra Esports – $9,079,680.49 (10 Tournaments)
- eStar Gaming – $5,704,641.49 (12 Tournaments)
- Team Liquid – $4,318,258.95 (227 Tournaments)
- Nova eSports – $4,089,664.79 (26 Tournaments)
- FaZe Clan – $3,419,668.20 (88 Tournaments)
- Team Secret – $3,253,392.24 (30 Tournaments)
- Wolves Esports – $3,162,991.26 (27 Tournaments)
- Natus Vincere – $2,833,632.24 (65 Tournaments)
- Paris Saint-Germain Esports – $2,689,502.48 (23 Tournaments)
- G2 Esports – $2,252,426.76 (69 Tournaments)
Top eSports Teams by Total Prize Money Won
- Team Liquid (Europe) – $44.08 million
- OG (Europe) – $37.7 million
- Evil Geniuses (the US) – $26.74 million
- Team Spirit (Russia) – $21.79 million
- Natus Vincere (Ukraine) – $20.41 million
- Team Secret (Europe) – $19.71
- Fnatic (the UK) – $19.32 million
- Paris Saint-Germain Esports (France) – $18.56 million
- Virtus.pro (Russia) – $18.53 million
- Faze Clan (the US) – $16.15 million.
Leading eSports Gamers Based on Their Overall Earnings
- As of January 2023, the top eSports player is Johan Sundstein who is known as N0tail, has won over $7 million in prize money.
|Player Name||Player ID||Highest-paying Game||Overall Earnings|
|1||Johan Sundstein (Denmark)||N0tail||Dota 2||$7,184,163.05|
|2||Jesse Vainikka (Finland)||JerAx||Dota 2||$6,486,948.78|
|3||Anathan Pham (Australia)||ana||Dota 2||$6,024,411.96|
|4||Sébastien Debs (France)||Ceb||Dota 2||$5,824,509.40|
|5||Topias Taavitsainen (Finland)||Topson||Dota 2||$5,699,189.00|
|6||Kuro Takhasomi (Germany)||KuroKy||Dota 2||$5,288,547.73|
|7||Amer Al-Barkawi (Jordan||Miracle-||Dota 2||$4,885,085.26|
|8||Lasse Urpalainen (Finland)||Matumbaman||Dota 2||$4,873,411.04|
|9||Ivan Ivanov (Bulgaria)||MinD_ContRoL||Dota 2||$4,677,559.74|
|10||Maroun Merhej (Lebanon)||GH||Dota 2||$4,291,187.60|
- As of January 2023, the top-earning female eSports player is Sasha Hostyn. Shte is also known as Scarlett and has bagged a total of $440,000. This is roughly x18 less than the earnings of the top male player.
- In 2022, Chinese players performed better than players from the US as four of the ten top places were taken up by them.
- As of February 2023, Li Xiao Meng who is also popular in the eSports arena as Liooon, was the highest-earning female professional player. Her overall earnings were $241,510. According to estimates, the overall earning of the top Chinese male eSports professional player was $3.9 million.
Leading eSports Games in Numbers
- Dota 2 – $32.85
- Arena of Valor – $32.73
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile – $23.42
- Fortnite – $16.2
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – $16.11
- League of Legends: Wild Rift – $13.3
- According to the survey executed by eSports Earnings, in 2022, eSports games like Rocket League, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Rainbow Six Siege, and League of Legends each exhibited a cumulative prize pool that was valued at less than $10 million.
- For the means of comparison, in the first eight months of 2021, Counter-Strike Global Offensive was the top eSport game when prize money is concerned. The prize money of the game back then was $12.6 million. Arena of Valor was runner-up with $11.55 million. Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War came third and fourth.
- In 2020, the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) market was valued at $444 million.
- Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) Market is projected to exceed $490 in annual sales by 2025.
- Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) is set out to grow at a CAGR of 13.6% between 2025 and 2030. The market is projected at $3,993.2 million.
- During a survey carried out in September 2021, it became clear that the most popular eSports game between respondents aged 18 and 24 was Call of Duty. The share of respondents interested in it was around 44%. The runner-up was Apex Legends and those who chose it were around 36% of all respondents.
Prize Pools per eSports Tournament Series
- The International 2022 – $40.02 million
- The International 2019 – $34.33 million
- The International 2018 – $25.53 million
- The International 2017 – $24.69 million
- The International 2016 – $20.77 million
- The International 2022 – $18.93 million
- The International 2015 – $18.43 million
- Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 Solo – $15.29 million
- Fortnite World Cup Finals 2019 Duo – $15.1 million
- The International 2015 – $10.93
What is the Annual Combined Prize Pool for eSports Tournaments
- In 2023, the cumulative eSports prize pools are expected to reach $543,69 million.
- According to the available information, in 2017, the combined eSports prize pools totaled $115.51 and just a year later, increased to $159.34 million.
- The most followed eSports event as of May 2021 was the Free Fire World Series 2021 Singapore. The number of peak viewers was 5.41 million people. That year, League of Legends (LOL) World Championships was the second most followed eSports event.
- Figures show that in 2019, the League of Legends (LOL) World Championships had 3.99 million peak viewers. The 2020 edition of the championship had 3.88 million peak viewers.
eSports Market Size Depending on the Game Type
- Figures speak for themselves also when it comes to sports games as in 2020, it was valued at $102 million.
- The market share of racing games, action games, strategy games, and racing games was $96 million.
- In 2020, the market share of fighting games was valued at $101 million.
- The same year, the market share of other games was valued at $277 million.