Despite a lack of in-person events, esports is seeing an increase in fans and viewership. (Photo by SteelSeries/Flickr)
The fact that esports was able to withstand the COVID-19 pandemic is not a surprise. Whilst traditional sports leagues were forced to shut down all games due to the virus, esports was able to thrive through playing remotely, with viewers tuning in through Twitch, YouTube, and other streaming platforms.
In fact, most viewers were on the 2020 League of Legends World Championship, which was the most-watched esports tournament of all time and it was without in-person fans, according to Esports Charts.
However, the future looks even stronger than the past.
According to a report from Interpret and Consumer Technology Association, the global esports audience is projected to surpass 500 million viewers by 2024. This would be a 73% increase in viewership from 2020.
Paired with the fact that so many young people are gaming in large quantities, esports will almost certainly grow as an industry.
As for the esports market, Infiniti Research Limited reports that it could see a $2.05 billion increase by 2025. Both esports branding and an increase in events will help the market expand by this much in the next few years.
But what can this new money go towards?
As stated before, an increase in events will likely come as more money is invested into the scene, but it also means an increase in partnership opportunities for third-party companies.
Sponsorships dominate the global esports market with a share of 39.9% in 2019, according to a report by Grand View Research. In that same report, the global market size is projected to grow exponentially, and those sponsorships will continue to dominate. Non-endemic brands continue to invest into esports, with a reported 76 deals with non-endemic brands being done in the first quarter of 2019.
As the viewership continues to grow, so will the market. As the market grows, so will the opportunity for non-endemic brands to get into esports.
Whilst these may just be projections and nothing is set in stone quite yet, non-endemic brands sponsoring esports teams and leagues right now can expect their investment to pay off quite handsomely.