The Newzoo Global Esports Market Report 2018 summarises key data points from a consumer phenomenon, as esports continues to grow its huge base of passionate fans across the globe. As a business, esports is now entering a new and critical phase toward maturity. Big investments have been made, new league structures have been launched, sponsorship budgets have moved from experimental to continuous, and the international media rights market is starting to heat up. At the same time, player salaries have soared and the esports ecosystem and viewership hours still very much rely on a select number of globally operating teams and game franchises. Profitability and return on investment is, for many organizations at the heart of the esports economy, a challenge.

An industry survey performed by Newzoo late last year found that the majority of respondents from teams expect esports to take another five to 10 years to mature fully as a business. The same research showed that brands and agencies expect the ecosystem to be fully professionalized in three to five years. This illustrates the current status of the market: great expectations from outside and more conservative views from people within. 2018 will be pivotal in determining the pace at which esports becomes the global multi-billion-dollar business we all envisage. This year, Newzoo anticipates global esports sponsorship and advertising revenues to surpass half a billion dollars. Considering the broader media exposure esports has created, this is still a relatively small amount.

Key takeaways from the Global Esports Market Report 2018 include:

  1. Global esports revenues will reach $906 million in 2018, a year-on-year growth of +38.2%. North America will account for $345 million of the total and China for $164 million
  2. Brands will invest $694 million in the esports industry, 77% of the total market. This will grow to $1.4 billion by 2021, representing 84% of total esports revenues
  3. The number of Esports Enthusiasts worldwide will reach 165 million in 2018, a year-on- year growth of +15.2%. The total Esports Audience will reach 380 million this year, a year-on-year growth of +13.5%
  4. The global average annual revenue per Esports Enthusiast will be $5.49 this year, up by 20% from $4.58 in 2017
  5. In 2017, there were 588 major esports events that generated an estimated $59 million in ticket revenues, up from $32 million in 2016
  6. The total prize money of all esports events held in 2017 reached $112 million, breaking the $100 million mark for the first year
  7. The League of Legends World Championship was the most watched event on Twitch in 2017 with 49.5 million hours. It also generated $5.5 million in ticket revenues

Click here to download the Global Esports Market Report 2018.