The Growth of Esports
The world of esports is a relatively new concept that has rapidly grown in popularity and acclaim for its thrilling action and accessibility. Now, esports gambling is experiencing rapid growth and we’re here to see just how big it could become!
The explosion of esports can be attributed to the mainstream infiltration of popular figures like Ninja who have introduced esports and gaming as fun and legitimate sources of entertainment instead of niche markets as they were once thought to be. Ninja himself set a then-record with 667,000 concurrent live viewers and has teamed up with stars like Drake, Travis Scott, Marshmello, and JuJu Smith-Schuster, among others.
According to Statista, there were an estimated 25.7 million esports viewers on a month-to-month basis, a figure which is projected to grow to 46-million by 2023; even this is little compared to the Asian marketplace, which claims roughly half of the world’s esports viewership base. Although American esports is far behind in terms of patronage and participation, they are still in the process of introducing esports as a socially acceptable daily activity and care quickly catching up in market share.
The hype around the esports community has caused extreme growth in the streaming service Twitch and has caused many gaming communities to organize and ultimately franchise, as recently seen with the Call of Duty League, a $300-million-plus league that required 12 teams buy-in at $25-million each. Combine this with the 2018 decision to open the door to legal, nationwide gambling, and the perfect storm for esports betting has been created.
Esports and Betting
According to Market Insight Reports, global esports is expected to maintain an annual compound growth rate of 13.1% from 2020-2025 with the American market reaching a $13.05-billion cap in 2025, up from a $7.98-billion valuation in 2019.
Major companies like DraftKings, William Hill, Bet365, and others have entered the market for esports gambling and offer regular odds and daily fantasy, depending on the sportsbook. This came as a surprise to many at first but has been met with resounding approval as more sportsbooks have begun to insert themselves into the gaming marketplace.
Esportsbet.com lists DOTA 2, Fortnite, Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Fifa as the most popular esports to bet on in America; however, this is not an all-encompassing list, as titles such as Madden, World of Warcraft, and Halo are also available for betting.
The Future of Esports Gambling
Many of the older generations strongly oppose introducing and expanding esports to the younger crowd for its adverse effect on physical health and person-to-person engagement— but this does not change the fact that the market is rapidly growing and set to erupt soon. Esports offer easily accessible action and interaction with stars that are more relatable because of their seemingly regular nature.
Whereas professional sports stars are usually secluded and viewed as other-worldly, many esports personalities also maintain Twitch and YouTube channels, interact with their supporters regularly, and have a tendency to be more open than high-paid athletes. This encourages a more devout relationship between fans and players or teams, making them more likely to participate in gambling as a result.
The market for esports gambling is rapidly expanding and could reach incredible heights if gaming continues to expand and advance technologically.
With billions of dollars already being generated annually in a relatively new field and focused growth in accessibility and personalization on the horizon, it is fair to say that esports is “it” for the foreseeable future.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.