According to a recent report from Goldman Sachs, the total global gamer population expanded to 2.2 billion this year. That means that more than half of the 3.65 billion folks that are already gaming online are involved in eSports, but that’s only the tip of a monstrous iceberg.
The Goldman Sachs report projects annual revenue to grow from $655M in 2017 to $2.96B by 2022. eSports viewership only accounts for 5% of the total online population today. Even among active gamers, the eSports industry appears to have plenty of room for growth.
When did I realize video games were the equal opportunity platform for rabid competitiveness? The year was 1983, and I was beaming with pride as my mother walked through the door with a trophy for playing video games. The words, written in glitter on a piece of pink construction paper, read “Congratulations to the Ms. Pac-Man Champion of Billy D’s Lounge.”
Media rights currently account for 14% of eSports revenue, while sponsorships make up 38%. While Goldman Sachs expects sponsorship opportunities to continue to grow, it sees more growth potential in media rights, projecting the category to reach 40% of total revenue. This figure is comparable to the percent of total revenue generated by media rights deals in traditional sports leagues.
Recently, there has been an explosion of media rights deals in eSports, with Twitchs $90M Overwatch League deal leading the way. As more streaming platforms look to compete with Twitch, the fight for exclusive broadcast rights has escalated, with Facebook locking down streaming deals with ESL and Gfinity.
The globalization of eEports has also lead to leagues selling off their broadcast rights to different regions and languages. Chinese livestreaming platform Huya purchased the rights to broadcast the LCK, Koreas professional League of Legends, in China.