A recent downturn in the viewership of major sporting championships such as the NFL, Premier League and the Winter Olympics has shown that the popularity of traditional sports may be on the decline. A recent survey conducted by Limelight revealed that more young men now prefer to watch esports than traditional sports, with esports being their second most preferred media source, only behind movies.

Major brands have taken notice of this upturn in esports viewership and popularity, with tech and media companies alike investing in this new and exciting industry. In 2015, Amazon announced that it had successfully acquired Twitch, a live streaming platform, for $970 million and has diligently promoted esports as the main selling point of its platform ever since. Reports have highlighted that by 2020, esports will overtake the NBA’s 400 million fans, reaching closer to 500 million. It is predicted that around 11 billion hours will be spent by fans watching esports, with more than 70 million enthusiasts watching major finals through online streaming platforms such as Twitch.

With this increased exposure and popularity comes increased revenue, as advertisers take advantage of this new platform. According to reports, it won’t be long until esports eclipses traditional sports when it comes to yearly revenue. It is believed that revenue generated from esports will hit £1.2 billion by 2020, with viewing figures totaling around 600 million.

Esports really began to grow in the early 90’s, as games began to benefit from increased internet connectivity and online play. Looking at the average yearly earnings based on how long gamers had been in the sport and the prize money they have won, it shows that being a professional gamer pays.  The pro-gamer Miracle, earns just over $1 million per year since he began his journey in esports. There are 8 professional gamers who have earned an average of over $600,000 per year since they began in the sport, which only promises to rise as esports continues to grow.

Not only is the overall revenue of esports already substantial when compared to other traditional sporting organisations such as the Major League Soccer and Cricket’s Indian Premier League, the same can be said for prize pools on offer to competitors. The recent Dota 2: The International 2017 event boasted an overall prize pool of $17.5 million, making it the highest ever offered in the history of esports. Although this trend of increasingly lucrative prize money on offer to professional gamers is set to rise, due to brand investment into the sport and consumer interest, the figure of $17.5 million already far outweighs the combined prize pool of other major sporting events, such as the Tour de France, Cricket World Cup and The Open.

2018 is set to be another exciting year for esports, and as for the future, time will only tell if esports can overtake the popularity of traditional sports.

See more data into esports v sports from Betway here.

Written by Hazel Ramsell.

Prepared and edited by Andrew Carroll.

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