Everybody knows that esports is one of the fastest growing entertainment trends in the world. What began as a fairly nerdy activity in Korea at the turn of the century has grown to become a world-beater that is even starting to eclipse traditional sports. If there was any doubt about the success of esports, then you just have to take a look at the fact that competitive gaming is set to become a billion dollar industry in 2019.
Recent figures documented by Newzoo have suggested that revenues from esports will hit an astonishing $1.1 billion this year. This is thanks to a phenomenal growth rate of 26.7% since 2018, and it’s clear that it is the involvement of big business that is helping esports become a world beater.
Recently we have seen many multinational brands paying huge amounts of money to advertise their products at esports tournaments and even sponsor competitive gaming teams outright. From the likes of McDonalds sponsoring the massive ESL esports tournaments in Germany, to Red Bull partnering up with some of the most successful competitive gaming teams, it seems that just about everybody is jumping on the esports bandwagon.
What’s truly remarkable is the fact that even traditional broadcasters seem to be taking esports seriously. When the likes of ESPN start covering gaming tournaments, it shows that something significant is happening with many people’s perceptions of video games.
Just a few years ago, the idea of millions of people tuning in to watch other people play games would have seemed laughable. But the fact that over 200 million people watched last year’s League of Legends Worlds final shows that esports is a big spectator event, plus there are now even esports betting resources like www.esports.net that allow people a safe and easy way to bet on the outcome of the action.
Even many of the world’s most famous sporting organisations are seeking to get involved with esports as a way of extending their brand appeal. From iconic soccer clubs like Paris Saint Germain and Manchester City, to legendary American football sides such as New England Patriots, it seems that there’s something of a goldrush to invest in the best new esports teams and players.
What makes things all the more interesting is the way that new titles keep being added to the esports realm. Alongside classic esports like League of Legends, Counter Strike Global Offensive and Dota 2, recently we have seem games like Overwatch and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds becoming real sensations in competitive gaming. And with new titles like Fortnite and Apex Legends joining the fray, it seems as though there is no slowing down in the sheer range and scope of gaming options.
For a long time it looked like the fractious and chaotic world of esports would be impenetrable for mainstream viewing audiences. But with Blizzard Entertainment helping to set up the Overwatch League with a fixed set of teams and even a guaranteed player salary, it has standardised the gaming action to make it much easier for fans to follow.
Obviously, there is still plenty of antisocial behaviour from some young gamers to deal with, but we are also seeing growing moves from esports governing bodies to effectively reprimand some of the more toxic attitudes that have made gaming off-putting for outsiders. As a result, we are starting to see some esports being included as legitimate medal sports in traditional sporting events such as the SEA Games later this year. All of which shows that esports is set for a massive year in 2019.