These multiplayer video game competitions would determine League of Legends champions, the greatest shooters in Call of Duty, the cream of the crop of Street Fighter players, and more.
But today, media giants such as ESPN and Turner are broadcasting eSports tournaments and competitions. And in 2014, Amazon acquired Twitch, the live streaming video platform that has been and continues to be the leader in online gaming broadcasts.
To put in perspective how big eSports is becoming, a Google search for “lol” does not produce “laughing out loud” as the top result. Instead, it points to League of Legends, one of the most popular competitive games in existence. The game has spawned a worldwide community called the League of Legends Championship Series, more commonly known as LCS or LOL eSports.
Websites even exist for eSports live scores to let people track the competitions in real time if they are unable to watch. There are even fantasy eSports leagues similar to fantasy football.
So it’s understandable why traditional media companies would want to capitalize on this growing trend just before it floods into the mainstream. Approximately 300 million people worldwide tune in to eSports today, and that number is growing rapidly. By 2020, that number will be closer to 500 million.
And financial institutions are starting to take notice. Goldman Sachs valued eSports at $500 million in 2016 and expects the market will grow at 22% annually compounded over the next three years into a more than $1 billion opportunity.
Of course, as with any growing phenomenon, the question becomes: How do advertisers capitalize? This is especially tricky for eSports because of its audience, which is young, passionate, male-dominated, and digital-first. They live online and on social media, are avid ad-blockers, and don’t watch traditional TV or respond to conventional advertising.
So what will the future of eSports look like? How high can it climb? Could it reach the mainstream popularity of baseball or football? How will advertisers be able to reach an audience that does its best to shield itself from advertising?
The BI Intelligence report on the eSports ecosystem dissects the growing market for competitive gaming. This comprehensive, industry-defining report contains more than 30 charts and figures that forecast audience growth, average revenue per user, and revenue growth.
The gaming nucleus of eSports, including an overview of popular esport genres and games; the influence of game publishers, and the spectrum of strategies they adopt toward their respective esport scenes; the role of eSports event producers and the tournaments they operate.
The eSports audience profile, its size, global reach, and demographic, psychographic, and behavioral attributes; the underlying factors driving its growth; why they are an attractive target for brands and broadcasters; and the significant audience and commercial crossover with traditional sports.
eSports media broadcasters, including digital avant-garde like Twitch and YouTube, newer digital entrants like Facebook and traditional media outlets like Turner’s TBS Network, ESPN, and Canal Plus; their strategies and successes in this space; and the virtual reality opportunity.
eSports market economics, with a market sizing, growth forecasts, and regional analyses; an evaluation of the eSports spectacle and its revenue generators, some of which are idiosyncratic to this industry; strategic planning for brand marketers, with case studies; and an exploration of the infinite dynamism and immense potential of the eSports economy.