E-Sports Industry To Be Worth $1.9 Billion By 2018

E-Sports Industry To Be Worth $1.9 Billion By 2018Interest in competitive video gaming, known as eSports, has been steadily growing since the late 2000s, but it wasn’t until this year that the eSports industry has started to surge in popularity following an increased level of advertising by major western brands. As a result, the industry is expected to be worth $748 million by the end of 2015, soaring to $1.9 billion by 2018, according to research conducted by SuperData. As Stephanie Llamas, Director of Research and Consumer Insights, explains:
“E-sports are becoming more mainstream and that has attracted traditional media channels like TBS and ESPN. So far, fans have had to seek out platforms to watch tournaments and players, but now people can stumble upon eSports while flipping through channels. Even old-fashioned brands are taking notice and there is a growing interest in advertising to the coveted millennial male demographic on a medium they know well.”
At the end of October, for instance, Sony announced its intention to create the PlayStation Plus League, which it described as β€œan online platform for eSports available to all PS Plus members.” Similarly, Russia’s third richest man, Alisher Usmanov, said his company USM Holdings would invest $100 million into the country’s biggest eSports organization, Virtus.pro.
The eSports industry currently relies on sponsorship money for around 77% of its revenues, but while $150 million was pumped into the industry over the past year, returns have been slow for investors as eSports fans seem more comfortable staying away from real-money gambling. With surging interest in eSports, though, that situation is bound to change in the future.
Online poker, for instance, has started to attract a following of eSports fans thanks mainly to twitch streams being broadcast by poker pros such as Jason Somerville, while recently poker pro Betrand Grospellier announced he had being signed as a sponsored Hearthstone pro to Team Liquid. Land-based casinos, too, have started to take note, and initiatives have now been launched to create hybrid slot/video gaming machines to attract a new generation of millennial gamers.

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