$1.8 Billion Annually By 2020: the eSports Market Heats Up

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Steve Anderson
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$1.8 Billion Annually By 2020: the eSports Market Heats Up

While the news these days has seemingly been heavy on the console market and the host of games that will be making it to such platforms as the holiday shopping season rapidly closes in, there's still word coming out around esports. The latest word suggests that this is going to be one doozy of a market in short order: $1.8 billion worth of revenue by 2020 big.

The word came down from R.W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian, who released his findings in a report called "esports readying for prime time". Sebastian noted that, while esports in general was still an early-stage market, it did represent something that could ultimately prove to be "the next big thing in media and entertainment."

The esports market already represented $200 million in annual revenue in 2014, and the amounts have already gone up from there. Indeed, with sponsorships and tournaments gaining ground, and an increasing number of venues on hand to follow esports--from Twitch to YouTube and beyond--there are some impressive numbers watching and generating footage in this field. That's only likely to advance from there, especially since there are signs esports is starting to go mainstream.
We're already seeing esports hit TBS and ESPN, and that's a sign that this isn't likely to fizzle out in the next couple of months. As esports demonstrates its own staying power, it improves the likelihood that sponsors--and therefore further revenue--will find a way to the system to take advantage of its opportunities. Potential sponsors, after all, are looking for advertising opportunities that reach a certain demographic; while the demographics have been proven and then some with esports, the question of whether or not that demographic will actually be reached by esports advertising is much less clear. But the more that the concept grows and remains in place, the clearer it becomes that the interest is there and so too is the market. A clear advertising market makes for a great target, and when the user presence is clear, so too will be advertiser interest, which means another revenue stream for esports.

So we're looking at an increasingly likely future where we may watch the best of Starcraft or Call of Duty players or the like on Sunday afternoons instead of football, and that's a concept that will shake up the field of entertainment pretty soundly. The idea that esports may one day replace sports altogether may sound odd, but it's not necessarily out of line. The numbers bear that much out.

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