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Esports to generate over $1 billion in 2021

China will be the most lucrative market
Esports to generate over $1 billion in 2021
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Global esports revenues are expected to exceed $1 billion this year, according to Newzoo's 2021 Global Esports & Live Streaming Market Report.

The impressive figure will represent a growth rate of 14.5 per cent year-on-year from the $947.1 million generated in 2020. By 2024, esports is projected to bring in $1.6 billion.

Meanwhile, more than 75 per cent of revenue generated, or rather $833.6 million, will come from media rights and sponsorship in the esports sector. That number is expected to rise to nearly $1.2 billion in 2024.

"The other traditional sports revenue streams remain underdeveloped and have yet to fully unlock their potential in a meaningful way," reads the report.

In 2021, China will be the most lucrative market with $360.1 million in revenue. The US and Western Europe will follow as they are predicted to generate $243 million and $205.8 million, respectively.

Meanwhile, it is estimated that 474 million people will watch competitive gaming events this year, increasing 8.7 per cent year-on-year.

Get competitive

Of the 474 million, approximately 234 million will be esports enthusiasts – people that watch professional esports more than once a month – representing a growth rate of 8.7 per cent year-over-year. The majority of which, 92.8 million, will be in China while the US and Brazil will trail.

Furthermore, at a rise of 2.8 per cent year-on-year, the average revenue earned through each esports enthusiast will be $4.63.

However, besides already established markets, there was a staggering increase in the interest in esports in other countries.

"While the esports market faced more challenges, it also managed significant growth, with markets and regions that previously had little-to-no esports activity suddenly entering the scene and flourishing—most notably, India," said Newzoo head of esports Remer Rietkerk.

"The explosion of PUBG Mobile in the region prior to the government's ban on the game, as well as the growing popularity of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, has created an Indian esports boom that is likely here to stay."

Living the stream

As for live-streaming, it is expected that those who tune in to watch games will reach 728.8 million this year, up 10 per cent from 2020.

Moreover, the number of viewers will grow to 920.3 million by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2 per cent.

Much like with esports, China will be the largest market for live streaming, boasting 193 million viewers this year. Moreover, the country is predicted to have an audience of 214.3 million by 2024.

Undoubtedly, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has played a part in the growth of live streaming. However, as Newzoo points out, growth will continue though it will steadily return to a natural rate.

Pandemic disruption

"Last year, the pandemic disrupted the esports and live-streaming markets alike. On the live-streaming side, lockdown measures resulted in spiking viewership across all platforms," said Newzoo head of esports Remer Rietkerk.

"More consumers were—and still are—confined to their homes, driving them to spend more time on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Huya.

While English remains the dominant language in live streaming, 2020 proved to be a strong year for Spanish and Portuguese broadcasts. Overall, Spanish viewers racked up 1.4 billion hours in viewership while Portuguese reached 1.1 billion.

Back in January, the games and esports data firm revealed what five mobile gaming trends should be kept an eye on this year. The following month, Newzoo formed a partnership with Apptopia.