eSports by the Numbers: Industry, Users, & Fun Facts

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26 June, 2024 • Updated 23 days ago
eSports by the Numbers: Industry, Users, & Fun Facts

eSports is the newest craze where players will compete in various gaming tournaments or gaming events. During the competition, amateur players will compete through rounds ultimately having the top few players battling it out in regional or championship game.

Through creative branding and engaging content, eSports is continuing to grow not only with players but with the millions of viewers who tune in to watch the events.

What Revenue Does Esports Generate?

Two Young men playing on computers.
Sponsors have found on eSports a new way to reach younger audiences.

Even though eSports is at its beginnings, its increasing revenue year after year is proving that it will continue to grow both in viewership and in increased revenue. Revenue through eSports is generated through a number of avenues including sponsorship and advertising which is designed to cater to viewers and players all over the world. Check out these eSports revenue statistics.

  • eSports had over $492 million in revenue in 2016.
  • Revenue is expected to increase over 32% by 2020 with an estimated revenue of $1.48 billion in the U.S. alone.
  • eSports revenue topped $696 million in 2017.Of the revenue made in the year 2017.
  • 38% came from sponsorship with an impressive $266 million spent.
  • 22% came from advertising at around $155 million.
  • 17% was earned from game publishing fees that accounted for $116 million.
  • 14% was earned from the media rights which accounted for $95 million.
  • 9% came from merchandise and tickets that came in around $64 million.

The revenue earned was spread widely across the globe with most of the revenue being generated in Asia.

Of the $696 million in revenue earned: 37% came from Vietnam, 7% from South Korea, 15% from China, 41% was earned in the rest of the world.

Outside of the Asian market, North America has seen the largest boom from revenue related to eSports.

  • The North American eSports market earned $257 million in 2017.
  • The revenue in North America is expected to double by 2020 to $607 million.
  • Most of the North American revenue came from sponsorships which had a total of $113 million in 2017.
  • The 25 million eSports enthusiasts in North America spend almost twice as much as other regions with an average of $10.36 each in revenue.
  • North America is also expected to see a growth of the export of content licenses up to $95 million which will be an 82% increase from 2016.

Why Are Advertisers Flocking To Esports?

While the revenue that is generated is obviously impressive, it is not the only reasons advertisers are choosing eSports to spend their advertising dollars. The fact is, the gaming audience is an audience that is very receptive to the ads they see while gaming.

  • 43% of eSports viewers say that they always appreciate brands that reach out to them through the gaming world.
  • 42% said that they usually appreciate the ads they see through their gaming channels.

Who Watches Esports?

The other reason advertisers are taking advantage of this new advertising market is the fact that there is not only a loyal following of viewers, but they also continue to grow each year. More and more gamers are participating in the events and tournaments, and more viewers are tuning in with a year over year increase of almost 30%.

  • There were over 323 million viewers in 2016
  • In 2017, the total number of hours watched was 2,077,897,606
  • Total views were 29,853,993.
  • The average viewer will typically watch for at least 84 minutes.
  • Viewership is comparable to other sport airings with 43 million viewers tuning into the 2017 championship of League of Legends, just 1.5 million less than the amount of viewers game 7 of the NBA finals had.
  • Out of the 385 million viewers in 2017, 191 were eSports fans and enthusiasts, and 194 million were occasional viewers.
  • The sports enthusiasts are expected to see the biggest growth with a 50% in the next three years. They are also expected to spend the most money with an average of $3.64 per watcher.
  • . This figure is expected to increase to $5.20 by 2020.
  • Asia also saw the highest level of viewers with 51% from Asia Pacific, 18% Europe, 13% Vietnam, 18% in the rest of the world.
  • Millenials are one of the highest growing demographic with millennial-aged viewers twice as likely to watch gaming events on a streaming platform.
  • 22% of male millennials watch competitive gaming.
  • 22% of women are involved in eSports and 18% of men.

Who Is Participating In Esports?

As the sport and competitions continue to grow so does the profile of the gamers participating. With prize pools sometimes topping large amounts, as much as millions of dollars to winning players, more and more people are throwing their hat in the ring and seeing how they do. Check out some of the interesting facts and statistic s about these amateur gamers.

  • Most gamers play due to the appeal of the awards.
  • One of the highest earning gamers is Peter Dager who has earned over $2,62 million during his gaming career.
  • Female players see lower total earnings with one of the highest female gamers, Sasha Hostyn, earning over $171 thousand by the end of 2017.
  • Those playing competitive games such as FIFA and Madden are three times more likely to stay engaged.

Betting On Esports

Esports Tournament.
Betting on eSports is becoming a common practice among the audience.

While betting is not included in the revenue earned by the eSports, it is a big money generator in many markets. The betting on eSports has been around since its inception but has never had a need to be organized by companies.

Betting on eSports is now considered the seventh biggest sport in the world in terms of betting making it in league with golf and tennis. As eSports continues to grow and gain a larger following, betting and fantasy league markets are expected to expand.

Fun Facts About Esports

Even with its increasing popularity there is often little known about the eSports industry. Checkout the fun facts listed below that you may or may not have realized about the competitive gaming world.

  • Due to new content, the games are constantly evolving.
  • Professional teams are being formed by current professional sports owners.
  • Professional owners include New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon.
  • Total prize money has been over $60 million in recent years.
  • 61% of viewers were under the age of 35.


The eSports market is expected to grow exponentially both in viewership and revenue seeing a giant leap by the year 2021. As more games are added to the competition, and the number of participants grows, the new market will be lucrative for advertisers to spend their money to be able to engage with a responsive and fully engaged audience.

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