The world of eSports is a highly competitive one. It involves organized video gaming tournaments with teams of players facing off against each other. Professionals and amateurs get to participate in this sporty take on video games, and fans get to be involved too.
With so much going into the world of eSports, let’s look at the most important statistics.
Esports Stats Highlights
eSports is a relatively new development but already a successful one that draws the attention of many. Its quick progress has allowed it to break into the mainstream, but what defines it? Here is an overview:
- eSports teams are just like sports teams: they have owners, partners, sponsors, leagues, and annual revenues to think about.
- eSports has enjoyed remarkable growth in a relatively short amount of time. This is due to the familiar world of sports being applied to the also popular world of video games.
- There are regional and international eSports tournaments.
- A lot of money can be made from a successful eSports career. The top-rated Team Liquid has accumulated around 40 million USD from prizes.
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments had a cumulative prize pool of around 8 million USD in 2021. This is estimated to grow.
The market value of eSports has grown as rapidly as its success. The financial aspect that powers it has been flourishing, despite the pandemic. Let’s look at some market numbers to see more about how this world works.
The Worldwide Esports Revenue Has Been a Triumph
On a global level, eSports has made 1.08 billion USD in revenue. It is projected to continue its meteoric rise and to increase that revenue to 1.6 billion USD in 2024. The 2021 figure already represents a 50% increase from the previous year.
Asia and North America offer the largest eSports markets in the world.
China Is the Leading Region in Esports Revenue
eSports has plenty of impact worldwide, but China accounts for a fifth of the market. The eSports revenue in China was 360.1 million USD in 2021. The US followed, with 243 million USD, and then Western Europe contributed 205.8 million USD.
While all three markets have an impact on the world of eSports, it is China that fully takes the lead in this aspect.
Sponsors and Ads Bring the Largest Esports Revenue
Those new to eSports may be wondering where all the money comes from. The largest share is from sponsorships and advertising deals. In 2021, on a worldwide level, sponsorships and advertising brought 641 million USD in market revenue.
Sponsors and companies looking to establish advertising relationships are aware of how prolific this field is. Merchandising and tickets alone are usually expected to bring around 66 million USD in revenue.
Media Rights Are the Next Best Market Revenue
Media rights are an imprescriptible part of eSports. In 2021, they brought a market revenue of 192.6 million USD. Publisher fees brought 126.6 million USD, while digital revenue was 32.3 and streaming was 25.1.
The Esports Worldwide Market Size Is Expected to Double
In 2020, the worldwide eSports market size was just shy of 1 billion USD. In 2021, it reached 1.28 billion USD. By 2025, it is expected to soar to 2.89 billion USD. This is a huge part of what makes eSports so attractive for sponsors and other partnerships. The upward trend that eSports is currently enjoying will be there for a while.
The Audience Size Is Growing
In 2021, the worldwide eSports audience reached a new record of 474 million. In 2024, it is expected to reach 577.2 million around the globe. This trend ensures that the viewers will be around for quite a while longer, which means the sport will continue to have revenue.
Of the 474 million viewers in 2021, 234 million referred to themselves as regular enthusiasts. 240 million identified as occasional viewers. By 2024, both these segments are expected to grow, with eSports enthusiasts amounting to 285 million and occasional viewers to 291 million.
Teams and Player Stats
One of the most exciting parts of eSports is discovering the different teams and players. Like with traditional sports, viewers form attachments to their preferred teams and go on to support long-term. Let’s discover more about this aspect.
The Most Valuable Teams Transform the Sport
The current leading eSports professional teams by total prize money won are some of the biggest names in the field. Team Liquid from Europe is the top all-time earner, with 37.82 million USD. They are followed by OG, also from Europe, with 35.63 million USD.
These top two teams are then followed by Evil Geniuses, from the US, with 25.52 million USD in prize money won. Team Spirit and Virtus.pro from Russia complete this top 5.
Professional Organizations Add More Value
Organizations of eSports players recruit the best in the field and participate in tournaments. The most valuable organizations in the world have made sport history. The top one is TSM, with 410 million USD earned so far. This iconic organization is followed by Cloud9, with 350 million USD.
FaZe Clan earned 305 million, while the next in line, 100 Thieves, won 190 million. This shows the kind of money that eSports brings to those who succeed in it.
Worldwide Organizations Have Plenty of Revenue
eSports organizations can win a lot of money, but they also produce revenue in turn. In 2020, Enthusiast Gaming made 95 million USD. TSM made 45 million, FaZe Clan made 40 million, and Cloud9 made 30. Revenue is increasing in eSports every year, and much of that is due to the success of its organizations, teams, and players.
The Leading Worldwide Esports Players by Earnings
(Source: eSports Earnings)
While eSports focus a lot on teams, individual players are essential to the success of the sport. Each player adds value to the teams and contributes to the revenue. N0Tail (Johan Sundstein) from Denmark is the top earner, with over 7 million US dollars won overall.
Next in line is Finland’s JerAx (Jesse Vainikka), with over 6 million US dollars earned.
Ana (Anathan Pham), Ceb (Sébastien Debs), Topson (Topias Taavitsainen), and KuroKy (Kuro Takhasomi) complete the list of eSports players who’ve earned over 5 million in their careers.
The Leading Female Esports Players by Overall Earnings
There are numerous amazing women making history in the world of video games, and many have brought their skills to eSports. The top female eSports player of all time based on overall earnings is Scarlett (Sasha Hostyn) from the US, who throughout her career gained an impressive 423.9 thousand dollars.
She is followed by China Liooon (Li, Xiao Meng) with 240.51 thousand dollars and by Mystik (Katherine Gunn) with 122.55. Despite these earnings, it is clear to see the general disparity between the earnings of women players and men.
Over 100 Esports Players Have Earned Over 1 Million USD
(Source: eSports Earnings)
The amazing rise of eSports is easy to see when looking at player earnings. 118 have already broken the 1 million USD mark. They are players from all around the world, competing for different teams, and many of them playing different games. The potential of eSports is palpable, as is its great attraction to gamers worldwide.
Tournaments and Games Stats
eSports uses tournaments for competitions, and many of the teams are competing with specific games that they specialize in. Many of the players within an organization bring different skill sets and different levels of expertise. This is where the magic is seen.
The Most Viewed Esports Tournament Happened in 2021
In May 2021, the Free Fire World Tournament in Singapore broke previously set records and became the most viewed eSports event ever. There were over 5 million peak viewers. This had only previously been achieved with League of Legends tournaments, but they only made it to 3.99 million peak viewers in 2019 and 3.88 million in 2020.
The Total Value of Prize Pools Is Expected To Set New Records
While the accumulated value of combined prize pools in eSports has tipped over the 400 million mark since 2021, it is expected to hit 500 million in 2023. In 2022, the total prize money was 465.26 million USD.
Before 2019, the combined value was 159.34 million at most. This is further proof of how quickly eSports has grown and what new heights it has reached.
The Leading Tournaments With the Biggest Prize Pools
Historically, the International tournament is the one with the biggest prizes and usually the highest attendance. In 2021, the prize pool at the International was 40.02 million USD. In 2019, it was 34.33 million.
The Solo and Duo Fortnite World Cup Finals in 2019 had prize pools of over 15 million, but the International continues to set the records.
The Prize Pool for the Call of Duty: Mobile World Championship
The Call of Duty: Mobile World Championship takes place every year. Participants are decided at the end of regional championships. Then, teams participate in the Grand Final challenge.
In 2020, the cumulative prize pool did not manage to make it to 1 million USD. By 2021, things changed with the constant rise of eSPorts, and the prize pool went up to 2 million.
The Annual Cumulative Counter-strike: Global Offensive Tournament Prize Pool
eSports tournaments can be grueling, and it is no surprise that people can’t always participate. Despite this, the tournament prize pool can be a huge incentive.
In 2021, the accumulated prize pool was 21.17 million USD. The lowest prize pool was unsurprisingly registered in 2020 and was 15.85 million.
The highest prize pool was in 2018 and stood at 22.65 million USD.
The Top Streamed Games Can Change
While there will always be perennial favorites in the top games being streamed by eSports players and teams, some new additions may occasionally appear. The best cumulative prize pools are currently offered by DOTA 2 (47.73 million USD), Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (21.17 million USD), and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile (17.16 million USD).
These figures will affect what players spend time on, but new releases that quickly become fan favorites may change the list.
Twitch and YouTube are the most popular platforms used by eSports teams and players. The way eSports uses these platforms is essential to its overall success. Here are some of the most interesting facts related to platforms.
Platforms and Revenue Shares
Streaming games has become almost a necessity in the eSports world since the pandemic hit. Many live events and tournaments had to be canceled, and the gaming world had to adapt. Luckily, there have been plenty of tools to help them continue to hone their skills while remaining in contact with the community.
Twitch and YouTube have the highest revenue shares, with Twitch inching forward at 22% and YouTube remaining at 18%. Choosing between these primary choices is frequently up to personal preference.
Most Popular Games Streamed on Twitch by Peak Viewership
League of Legends continues to be the Twitch game with the most peak viewers worldwide, with over 3 million being recorded by January 2022. Next in line is another viewer and eSports favorite, Fortnite, with 2.28 million peak viewers.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, VALORANT, DOTA 2, Call of Duty: Warzone, Rust, and Cyberpunk: 2077 have all registered over 1 million peak viewers too.
New Games Are Breaking Into the Top
The beginning of 2022 brought with it a highly-expected release: Elden Ring. Between February and March 2022, Elden Ring became the most streamed game on Twitch. It accumulated over 74 million weekly number of hours watched and became an instant phenomenon.
Grand Theft Auto V came second in this timeframe, but only with 29 million weekly number of hours watched.
eSports depends on its audience to be successful, and the community’s interaction with fans is indispensable. Here is some data about how fans approach eSports.
Viewers From China Engage Most With Esports
Chinese viewers are some of the most dedicated eSports fans around the world. Over 47% of eSports viewers are from China, followed by Indonesia at 40%, Thailand at 39%, and Taiwan at 38%.
Most Esports Fans Are From the Asia Pacific Region
Over 57% of eSports viewers live in the Asia Pacific region. They surpass all other regions by far. Europe has 16% of the views, North America has 12%, and the rest of the world splits the rest.
This is expected to change, but there will be no dethroning the Asia Pacific fans any time soon.
Public Interest in the US
When asked whether they were interested in eSports, the US audience had various answers to give. 72% said they weren’t fans or that they’d not heard much about it before. 19% said they were casual fans who occasionally tune in, and 9% described themselves as passionate fans who consistently follow eSports.
While eSports is expected to grow in terms of American interest, there is enough of an audience there to build with.
How Did Esports Start?
While the true origin is contested, the most famous story about the start of eSports can be traced back to Stanford University. This is where the very first official gaming competition with a prize took place in 1972, and the rest followed its course.
Are Esports Players Recognized as Athletes?
In the US, eSports players are fully recognized as official athletes. This recognition allows eSports players a different taxation bracket along with easier access to visas. eSports train hard, and it is much easier when they have a more streamlining bureaucratic process.
Is There a Minimum Age Requirement To Play Esports?
People of ages with love for gaming and devices are welcome to play eSports. The record for the youngest eSports player was set by a 6-year-old, while the record for the highest single cash prize was awarded to a 17-year-old at the Fortnite World Cup in 2019. The eSports world is full of surprises.
Parents with kids interested in how eSports have several options. Helping them delve into the world with parental guidance or even sending them to summer camps that include eSports classes. There are also game-themed coaching lessons for those looking for an in-depth introduction.
eSports is a fascinating subject that has benefitted from immense growth and success in a relatively short amount of time. By blending the worlds of video games and sports, this new creation caters to a wider spectrum of people while still catering to the gaming community.
Fans from all around the world watch eSports events and tournaments that delight them, and many will have serious preferences regarding teams or players.