While much of the sporting world is focused on World Cup soccer and staying updated on ESPN, there’s an entirely different sporting world of eSports estimated to generate $1.5 billion in global revenues this year — and growing at a 22 percent annual pace.
Devotees of eSports are tuned in to an online channel, www.GamerWorldNews.com, to track all the events in this burgeoning business–where professional online gamers (40 percent of whom are women) are raking in big bucks for their gaming expertise. They play individually or control “teams” in a huge array of war games and sporting competitions. Champions turn professional, become stars and rake in millions in winnings.
If you’re thinking of dropouts in gaming arcades or teenagers holed up in the basement playing video games, think again. This year, about 190 million people worldwide are expected to watch an e-Sports competition at least once a month, more than double the number five years ago. By 2020, that viewership is expected to top 300 million.
Where’s the Money?
The massive revenue stream comes from major global corporations reaching out to this tech-savvy audience. It started with manufacturers of computer technology and accessories, reflecting gamers’ needs for the most expensive equipment. But now, major corporations including Coca-Cola are buying advertisements and sponsoring players of these games.
In fact, there are even companies set up to represent players and help corporations direct their marketing to this burgeoning industry. Check out REV/XP, a leading firm in eSports marketing. Or check out the conferences and events at eSports Global Alliance.
What ARE These Games?
And what are these games? If the concept of eSports is news to you, you likely won’t recognize League of Legends, DotA (Defense of the Ancients), the Counter-Strike series or Lot. The latter, created by Riot Games, is the most widely streamed eSports game, with more than 10 million followers and 118,000 players. More than 2,000 professional tournaments have been held for this game, featuring a staggering $49 million in prizes awarded.
And the recent International DotA 2 Championship held in Seattle, the richest e-Sports tournament in the world, had a total purse for the event of over $20 million. Yes, while these are online games, many are held in huge stadiums and similar venues where spectators watch the action live on mega-screens.
Those who aren’t playing are watching intensely online as well. And likely betting. And as sports betting becomes legalized across America, it’s an easy bet that the revenues from eSports will quickly outpace traditional football, basketball and horse racing betting — especially as millennials dominate the economy.
Earlier this year at an economic forecasting luncheon, noted economist and visionary Bob Froehlich predicted eSports would be the one of three trends that would dominate the global economy. “Like it or not we live in a digital world that is redefining everything; now it is redefining sports,” Froehlich said. “I predict that by 2024 eSports will actually have an Olympic event!”
How to invest in eSports
There are few direct ways to invest, but Riot Games, the largest video game publisher, is a division of publicly traded Tencent Holdings. And companies like Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts are seen as beneficiaries of the eSports trend.
I’m guessing a lot of my readers will have absolutely no interest in eSports — either playing or investing! But there is one other good use for learning a big about this topic: Your children and grandchildren will think you’re incredibly cool!
And just in case you do get involved, let me remind you –s always — do your homework before you invest — or before you start playing. eSports is the wave of the future. And that’s The Savage Truth!