In 2020, the global esports market has generated a staggering $950.3 million around the world. It may be one of the fastest-growing sectors today. But just 10 years ago, most people probably wouldn’t have even heard the term “esports” at all. So why has this competitive industry become so popular? And just how popular is it?
The Rise of Esports Influencers
A great way to see just how popular esports are in 2020 is by checking social media. Social media users will quickly discover that YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram aren’t dominated by fashionistas and haul videos. Instead, esports is one of the most explosive sectors on our social networks.
After the Indian channel T-Series, the most popular YouTube channel is owned by the Swedish gamer Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg. PewDiePie found fame with his “Let’s Play” series, which shows him playing a variety of horror and action games.
Although T-Series just pipped him to the post of most-subscribed YouTube channel” in 2019, PewDiePie had been the undisputed champion prior to this point, and he remains the most-subscribed individual on the platform. He’s so popular that Time Magazine included him on their list of the world’s most influential people in 2016. To this day, his videos have received over 26 billion views.
PewDiePie has paved the way for other content creators to share video-game related videos and streams all over the internet. Over 3.8 million streamers broadcasted on Twitch in February 2020 and that number has only risen. Over 15 million unique viewers come to the website every day to watch streamers play their favorite games.
The Fortnite World Cup
Esports skeptics who aren’t aware of how powerful the industry is can take a look at the inaugural Fortnite World Cup in 2019. Held in New York with a whopping prize pool of $30 million, the event was watched by more than 23,771 people in person (the total capacity of its venue, the Arthur Ashe Stadium) and an estimated 2 million over streaming services such as Twitch and YouTube.
These massive crowds are a testament to the popularity of esports. While video gaming was once dismissed as the pastime of a loner, it’s now become big business – and there are millions of dollars at stake to tempt new fans to sign up.
Online Sports Betting
The world of esports isn’t just about playing video games, as can be seen here. Its popularity is also being driven by online sports betting. While bettors probably think about horse racing, boxing, cricket, or football when they initially think about sports betting, it’s becoming increasingly popular to bet on the outcome of online games.
Today, there are hundreds of dedicated websites and casinos where people can wager on events such as the Fortnite World Cup, or other video game tournaments. Even traditional casinos are now offering the ability to place esports bets, with wagers including which team will win and which team will get the first kill, as well as the relative positions of various players.
This shows that esports isn’t just a fad. Much like traditional sports, it’s becoming something which gamblers can actively study in order to make valid predictions. There have even been calls for video games to be included in the Olympics – but don’t expect to see someone win an Olympic gold medal for Fortnite just yet.