The future of eSports betting will become brighter three years from now as its global audience will balloon to almost 600 million by 2020.
Breaking down the data, Newzoo predicts that there will be 191 million eSports Enthusiasts and a further 194 million Occasional Viewers this year.
“Esports is not only growing exponentially as a new independent business and industry, it is also accelerating the convergence of various established industries,” Peter Warman, CEO at Newzoo, said in a statement. “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.”
As far as revenue is concerned, Newzoo paints a rosy picture for the eSports industry, excluding eSports betting.
It forecasted that eSports’ total revenue will grow from $325 million in 2016 to $1.488 billion in 2020 — a CAGR of 35.6 percent. The forecast revenue totals include media rights, advertising, sponsorship, merchandise and tickets, and game publisher fees.
“Based on our audience and revenue expectations for 2017, the average revenue per fan this year will amount to $3.64,” it explained. “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.”
Though Newzoo did not include sports betting in the study, it recognizes that betting on eSports is the hottest topic in the real-money gaming industry.
Newzoo believes that it is possible that eSports betting alone is larger than the eSports economy itself.
“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,” according to the report. “Traditional sports market reports do not include betting or fantasy league business models, let alone sponsorship from these betting companies. The two industries are separate for obvious reasons.”