Newzoo: Esports revenues will reach $696 million this year and grow to $1.5 billion by 2020 as brand investment doubles

Newzoo, the global leader in esports, games, and mobile intelligence, is announcing the release of its 2017 Global Esports Market Report today. This is the third edition of Newzoo’s annual report which provides an in-depth look at the esports economy and a realistic estimate of its future potential in terms of trends, viewers, participants, and revenue streams. More than previous years, the 119-page report focuses on individual regions in line with the exponential growth of local esports initiatives, crucial to the growth of the total ecosystem. The high-level takeaways from the report have been made available in a free version which you can download here.

The coming year will see the Esports Economy grow to $696 million, a year-on-year growth of 41.3%. Brands are expected to spend $516 million, broken down into $155 million on advertising, $266 million on sponsorship, and a further $95 million on media rights. Brand investment will double by 2020, pushing the total market to $1.5 billion. Consumer spending this year on tickets and merchandise will amount to $63 million. The remaining $116 million is the total investment that game publishers make into esports: the share that is not directly recouped by any of the other revenue streams. It illustrates that, for most game publishers, esports is currently not a profitable business. Their investment is justified however by the positive impact on game revenues and the future potential of their esports activities as a stand-alone business.

Peter Warman, CEO at Newzoo comments “Esports is not only growing exponentially as a new independent business and industry, it is also accelerating the convergence of various established industries. For brands, media, and entertainment companies, esports provides a chance to capitalize on the favorite pastime of digital natives and Millennials: playing games and watching game content. With the arrival of live streams and events, gaming has entered the realm of broadcasters and media that can now apply their advertising business model to a market previously out of reach for them.”

The global esports audience will reach 385 million in 2017, made up of 191 million Esports Enthusiasts and a further 194 million Occasional Viewers. The number of esports fans is expected to grow with another 50% toward 2020 totaling 286 million. In traditional sports, total revenue per fan is a key indicator of how well a sport is “monetized”. It encompasses all revenue streams including media rights, sponsorships, and consumer spending. Based on our audience and revenue expectations for 2017, the average revenue per fan this year will amount to $3.64. As the esports industry matures and incorporates an increasing number of local events, leagues, and media rights deals, the average revenue per fan is anticipated to grow to $5.20 by 2020. This is still a factor three lower than a popular sport such as basketball and a factor twelve lower than the most commercial league in the world, the NFL.

ESPORTS REVENUE SCOPE: Why betting is not included

Betting on esports is the hottest topic in the real-money gaming industry as betting companies see esports as a huge “blue ocean” opportunity. Betting on esports has been around for many years as it does not require the involvement of any esports companies to organize. Three years ago, a traditional betting company stated that esports was already its seventh-biggest sport worldwide in terms of betting volume, positioning it above golf and tennis for instance. Traditional sports market reports do not include betting or fantasy league business models, let alone sponsorships from these betting companies. The two industries are separate for obvious reasons. Moreover, sports betting is a far bigger business than sports media rights, sponsorship, and consumer revenues put together. As an example, the NFL generated $13 billion last year but betting and fantasy leagues around the NFL games are supposed to have made north of $50 billion. With most big betting companies already embracing esports betting on a global scale, it’s possible that esports betting alone is larger than the esports economy itself.

NORTH AMERICA Leads in brand and sports involvement boom

North America is the largest esports market with revenues of $257 million in 2017 and this will more than double to reach $607 million by 2020. Most of these revenues come from sponsorships, which will total $113 million in 2017. This is partly due to North American teams that have welcomed a large amount of new non-endemic sponsorships and the region hosting several of the worlds’ largest leagues and tournaments that generate a high amount of sponsorship money. The 25 million Enthusiasts in North America generate twice as much revenue per year than in any other region: $10.36 per fan per year, highlighting the lead that American media companies and brands have taken. The involvement of American and European sports teams and their marketing agencies will continue this year, pushing brand investments up even further. The impact of traditional sports and media are already reflected in esports’ fastest growing revenue stream: media rights trade. The sales of esports content licenses is expected to generate $95 million this year on a global scale, up 82% from 2016.

 

Esports Market Report Methodology

Newzoo’s Esports Audience and Revenue Forecast Model and subsequent datasets were developed using a trialed and tested, rigorous methodology that combines an array of statistical methods such as predictive analytics and structural equation modeling, leveraging a variety of local and regional data and cross-checks, from sources such as, but not limited to:

  • National (and regionally/globally aggregated) census data.
  • High-level local, regional, and global gamer and player numbers from our Global Gamers and Game Revenues Forecast Model.
  • Local, regio
    nal, and global franchise unique player and engagement data.
  • Input from our primary consumer research performed in 27 countries.
  • Revenue and engagement actuals and validations from teams and organizers
  • Prize money earnings on a local, regional and global level.
  • Online streaming and video platform viewer engagement on a team, event and organizer level.
  • Offline event attendees and ticketing revenues aggregated on a regional and global level.

 

The Glnewzoo_esports_audience_growthobal Esports Market Report

Our annual Global Esports Market Report fills the demand for an accurate and realistic overview of the esports economy and its future potential, on a global and regional level. It provides an insightful analysis of the esports market including revenue and audience estimates (2016-2020), the characteristics of Esports Enthusiasts, and the key trends shaping and disrupting the industry. Also included is a profile of the major organizers, sponsors, events, and teams per region. This report is aimed at those looking to create and optimize their esports strategy and positioning. Along with the report, the premium subscription provides you with granular XLS sets that are updated every quarter, access to the Esports Market Dashboard, and tailored support from our expert analysts. Newzoo also provides its esports clients with a variety of other esports intelligence services, including Newzoo’s Esports Franchise Tracker and Esports Consumer Insights on 26 countries.

Copy and images attributed to Newzoo