With a predicted turnover of around half a billion euros, teams such as Manchester City pointing their attention and investing serious cash into esports. Competitive video gaming has undoubtedly arrived on the global stage and esports is thriving in the US and worldwide.
If you turn on the tv in South Korea and take a look a few minutes it is very likely you will come across a channel dedicated to broadcasting live video game competitions aka eSports. South Korea is considered to be the pioneer of professional eSports and over the past decade has been the driving force behind eSports live events.
The same is true in Europe and the US. These competitions are far from being a local phenomenon and have captured the attention of over a hundred million viewers worldwide. For instance, the final of the biggest League of Legends tournament last year was followed live by more than 36 million people. It is no surprise that sports betting sites have started taking eSports betting seriously.
eSports is evolving at a very frantic pace and growing in stature more than conventional sports ever did. According to the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers report on eSports, PwC predicts the market in 2016 will eclipse 410 million euros. That is a staggering 43% more than last year. According to PwC, eSports is very much a genre that can no longer be considered niche.
Usually when we talk about watching eSports people tend to focus on streaming sites, such as Twitch or Ustream. However increasingly the major television has started to pay attention to what is going on in South Korea and are considering the Korean model with a plan to broadcast several matches or at least make room on their websites to follow the most important eSports competitions live.
In the US, ESPN, the largest sports broadcasting network, has created a website dedicated to following three leading eSports game titles; League of Legends, DOTA 2, World of Tanks, Overwatch, StarCraft II and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Turner Broadcasting, which owns TBS, is also active in the space and is looking to implement broadcasting over 20 live eSports tournaments this year and has even created its very own eSports competition with a prize pool rumored to be US $2.4 million.
Europe has seen several tests of eSports carried out by big broadcasting houses. Swedish public television, for example, broadcast 10 eSports tournaments last year with games including StarCraft II and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Germany, one of the European regions with the highest number of eSports fans, has also experimented with live broadcasts on cable tv channels. For broadcasters, eSports fans are the perfect audience. eSports fans are usually young, active on social networks, and familiar with sports broadcasts.
The change in attitude towards eSports shows positive figures although the future of eSports remains unknown. One thing for sure is that there is momentum. More than half of the usual home video gamers know of the pro eSports scenes existence. Among the general public around 15 of every 100 people claim to know about eSports.
With regards to age, perhaps unsurprisingly, young men and women aged between 18 and 24 years recorded the highest understanding of eSports competitions. A massive 34% know what eSports is and how it works. According to studies, the Hispanic community is very active in following eSports tournaments and pro eSports teams such as Fnatic.