Video games are seen by many as a flippant, childish matter, a pastime for youngsters. The gaming industry is, in turn, a massive business generating multi-billion dollar revenues. And one of its branches — competitive gaming or eSports — is becoming not only a veritable spectator sport but an increasingly viable career path for many.
Over the last few years, eSports has seen its viewership explode; last year, specialists counted more than 200 million regular and over 250 million occasional viewers on Twitch and YouTube — and with it, the growth of the number of teams, tournaments, and competitions. And, of course, the pro gamers’ revenues. And eSports will continue to grow in 2020 and beyond.
How much money does a professional gamer make?
According to some reports, a professional gamer working with a team can have a salary anywhere between $3000 and $5000 a month, often coupled with benefits like retirement plans. Plus, gamers almost always get extra revenue from streaming, broadcasts, endorsements, and sponsorship money.
How much the eSports industry is worth?
According to gaming intelligence specialist Newzoo, the revenues generated by eSports will surpass $1 billion this year. And in a couple of years, its value is expected to double. The biggest market for eSports today is China, followed by North America, and Europe. The audience of eSports, in general, is expected to grow to almost 500 million people this year — perhaps more, considering the lack of live sports caused by the ongoing pandemic.
Investing in eSports?
Every major video game developer wants a slice of the ever-growing eSports pie. There are several stocks that are linked to the industry, usually well-known names of the video gaming market.
Riot Games, the company behind one of the best-known eSports game League of Legends, is part of China’s Tencent. Activision Blizzard runs Overwatch and Call of Duty, Take-Two Interactive has its NBA 2K tournament, and Electronic Arts is behind tournaments backed by some of the biggest sports leagues on the planet, including FIFA, Formula One, NFL, and several others.
Besides, there are companies that are not directly involved in the eSports themselves but the platforms that make it tick.
This year, Alphabet — Google’s parent company — has announced a multi-year deal with Activision Blizzard, according to which YouTube will be used as the exclusive platform for the gaming company’s eSports events. Amazon’s Twitch is the go-to platform for many other eSports events, plus the company runs its own Amazon University Esports series involving students at universities around the world. Intel has been a long-time sponsor for eSports events, being the technological partner of the Electronic Sports League. And Disney has signed a deal with Activision Blizzard to broadcast the game developer’s Overwatch League.
The bottom line is that eSports is slowly becoming one of the biggest spectator sports in the world, especially by relying on the Internet to reach its viewers — but it’s slowly finding its way to the traditional media too. And its value is only expected to continue growing at a quick pace in the coming years.
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