The potential of esports as a mainstream spectator sport

It is hard to overstate the potential of esports as a mainstream spectator sport. In 2018, the global esports economy was worth $696 million, and it is expected to grow to $1.65 billion by 2021.1 There are already millions of avid fans around the world, and the sport is only getting more popular.

While some people dismiss esports as a niche interest, the truth is that it has all the hallmarks of a successful mainstream sport. It is fast-paced, exciting to watch, and full of storylines and rivalries that keep fans engaged. What’s more, it is powered by some of the world’s most popular video games, which have billions of players worldwide.

There are already plenty of examples of successful esports leagues and tournaments. The League of Legends World Championship had a prize pool of $6.4 million in 2017, while the Dota 2 International had a prize pool of $24 million in 2018. These are just two examples out of many; there are dozens of other leagues and tournaments with large prize pools that attract professional teams from all over the world.

The potential for growth in the esports industry is enormous. With more and more people tuning in to watch top-level competitions, it is only a matter of time before esports becomes a truly mainstream spectator sport.

What is esports?

Esports is a form of competition that is facilitated by electronic systems, particularly video games; the input of players and teams as well as the output of the eSports system is mediated by human-computer interfaces. Esports often take the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players, individually or as teams.

A brief history of esports

Modern esports owes its origins to the classic video games of the 1970s and ‘80s. These early games were mostly played in arcades, and later on home consoles like the Atari 2600. Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. were some of the earliest examples. The 1990s saw the rise of personal computers, and with them a new generation of video games. Games like Doom and Quake became hugely popular in college dorms and LAN parties (local area network, where players connect their computers together to play). These multiplayer games laid the groundwork for modern esports.

The late 1990s also saw the advent of “streaming” technology, which allowed gamers to broadcast their gameplay live over the internet. This gave birth to “Let’s Play” videos, where popular gamers would commentate over their own gameplay, and eventually led to professional esports leagues and tournaments.

Today, esports is a billion-dollar industry with a global audience of millions of fans. Professional gamers can earn millions of dollars in prize money, sponsorships and salary from playing in tournaments . The most popular esport in the world is League of Legends , followed by Counter-Strike: Global Offensive , Dota 2 , Overwatch and Fortnite.

The rise of esports

There is no doubt that esports has seen a meteoric rise in recent years. The global esports economy is now worth over $1 billion, and the audience for esports is growing all the time. Major tournaments are now being held in huge stadiums around the world, and some of the best players are earning millions of dollars in prize money.

But what exactly is esports? And how did it become so popular?

In simple terms, esports is competitive video gaming. But it is much more than that. Esports covers a huge range of different games, from first-person shooters to real-time strategy games, and everything in between. And it is not just a niche hobby – esports tournaments attract millions of viewers worldwide, and the best players are treated like superstars.

So how did esports become so popular? There are a few reasons. Firstly, the internet has made it possible for people all over the world to play games together online. This has made it easier for people to find others who enjoy playing the same games as them, and to form tight-knit communities.

Secondly, as video game technology has improved, so too have the graphics and gameplay of video games. This has made them more exciting and enjoyable to play, and has helped to make esports a more attractive proposition for both players and spectators alike.

Finally, the rise of social media has meant that people can share their love of gaming with a much wider audience. Twitch, YouTube, and other streaming platforms have allowed gamers to build up huge followings, and this has helped to raise the profile of esports even further.

Why is esports so popular?

Esports has been growing in popularity for the past few years. Multiple games are played in professional competitions with prize pools worth millions of dollars. So, why is esports so popular? Let’s take a look.

The appeal of esports

Esports, or electronic sports, are a form of organized, competitive video gaming. Unlike traditional sports, which are physical activities played by athletes in a stadium or arena, esports are digital competitions played by professional gamers on a computer or console.

While esports have been around for decades, they only began to gain mainstream popularity in the past few years. Today, esports are watched by millions of people all over the world and have even begun to be aired on television. So why are they so popular?

There are a few reasons for the appeal of esports. First, they’re easy to watch and follow. Unlike traditional sports, which can be difficult to understand if you’re not familiar with them, esports are easy to grasp because they’re based on video games that most people have played at some point in their lives.

Second, esports tournaments feature some of the best gamers in the world going head-to-head in exciting battles. These gamers often have interesting personalities and backstories that fans can connect with. And because anyone can become a professional gamer with enough practice and dedication, fans can aspire to be like their favorite players one day.

Finally, esports offer something that traditional sports don’t: the chance to interact with the players and other fans directly. Through social media and streaming services like Twitch, fans can chat with each other and even the players themselves during matches, making the experience even more engaging.

With all of these factors working in its favor, it’s no wonder that esports has become so popular in recent years. And as more people continue to tune in, it’s likely that its popularity will only continue to grow.

The global reach of esports

With a global reach of nearly half a billion people, it’s no wonder that esports is one of the fastest growing spectator sports in the world. From humble beginnings in the early 2000s, esports has grown into a multimillion-dollar industry with tournaments being held in some of the most iconic stadiums around the world. So, what is it about esports that has captured the hearts and minds of so many people?

For starters, esports is incredibly accessible. Anyone with a internet connection can watch live broadcasts of tournaments online for free. This has helped to grow the audience for esports exponentially in recent years. It’s also incredibly convenient to watch esports; unlike traditional sports which often have set timeslots on specific days, esports tournaments are usually held over weekends, meaning that people don’t have to miss out on work or school to watch them.

Another reason why esports is so popular is because of the way it is structured. Tournaments are typically formatted as “leagues” or “seasons”, with teams from all over the world competing against each other over a period of several months. This structure creates a sense of anticipation and excitement among fans as they wait to see which team will come out on top. It also allows casual viewers to dip in and out of watching without having to commit to following a particular team or player for an extended period of time.

Finally, esports is popular because it caters to a very passionate and engaged fanbase. Unlike traditional sports which often have diehard fans but also many casual viewers, esports fans are typically very knowledgeable about the game they are watching and are deeply invested in following the tournament circuit and keeping up with player statistics. This makes for a very engaged and lively viewing experience, even for those who are not particularly familiar with the game being played.

So there you have it! These are just some of the reasons why esports has become so popular in recent years. With its mix of accessibility, convenience and excitement, it’s easy to see why this rapidly growing industry is here to stay.

How much is esports worth

The global esports economy was worth $696 million in 2017 and is expected to grow to $1.5 billion by 2020, according to a report by market intelligence firm Newzoo.

Of that $1.5 billion, $865.6 million will come from direct revenues such as sponsorship, merchandise, and ticket sales, with the remaining $694 million generated indirectly from media rights and advertising.

The majority of esports’ revenue currently comes from Asia, which is home to some of the world’s biggest gaming companies and most dedicated esports fans. China alone is responsible for 35% of the global esports economy, followed by North America (24%) and Europe (19%).

The future of esports

While the jury is still out on whether or not esports will be able to achieve mainstream success, there is no doubt that the industry is growing at an astonishing rate. According to a report by Newzoo, the global esports economy is expected to reach $696 million in 2017, up from $463 million in 2016. This growth is being driven by a combination of factors, including increased investment from both traditional sports organizations and tech companies, the rise of popular streaming platforms like Twitch, and growing interest from sponsors and advertisers.

While the overall size of the esports economy is still small compared to other traditional sports, such as football or basketball, it is important to remember that esports is still in its early stages of development. If current trends continue, it is not unreasonable to believe that esports could one day be worth billions of dollars.


To conclude, esports has a promising future as a mainstream spectator sport. With its easy accessibility, growing player base and popularity, it has the potential to rival traditional sports in terms of popularity and profitability. The industry is still in its infancy, but if it continues to grow at its current rate, it could be worth billions of dollars in the next few years.