There’s often some confusion around the world when it comes to eSports. Some people assume that it’s just computer-generated sporting events, which it isn’t. After all, why would somebody tune in and even place wagers on an event that isn’t actually real? Well, people do, and this is called virtual sports.
eSports is technically an event or series of events where video gaming professionals go head to head, and it’s a lot more prestigious than it may initially sound. It’s much more than just a group of friends competing against each other – it’s quite literally grown into a global phenomenon.
But what’s so interesting about this? Well, because the eSports industry is expected to cross the billion-dollar threshold in 2020. That is billion, with a B!
That’s some pretty serious stuff, and we’ve created a list of the 4 main factors that are enabling this vast expansion to occur – take a look;
1. The popularity of gaming categories
eSports competitions consist of games such as Call of Duty, Madden NFL, FIFA, Fortnite, and many others. These games are played by and adored by millions of gamers from across the globe. So the fact that gamers now have the chance to compete against each other, and gain global recognition for their efforts is a big deal.
While the popularity of these games originated in the living room or, more often the bedroom, where players would jump online and try their skills, this is no longer where the story ends.
2. The integration with the gambling industry
Yes, that’s right – you can actually make bets on eSports events. While the rest of the world is still debating if eSports is actually a sport or not, the big sports betting operators were quick to implement these events in their betting markets. Of course, all of this can be done online these days, and there are plenty of online bookies that cover eSports events.
You don’t need to look too far to find a vast range of tournaments and markets for eSports, and it can be quite unique to bet on these events. Whether you have a favorite player that you want to win a tournament, a particular underdog that you feel might crawl to victory, or just a general interest in betting on eSports, you can do so with ease.
3. The surge of digital streaming
Mainstream TV is having to deal with major competition these days, due to the rise of online subscriptions for movies/TV shows and sports. People are so busy with work and other commitments that they just don’t always have the time to sit down in front of a TV at home. Streaming services that can be accessed on mobile devices, which of course allows people to watch things on the go, have become all the rage in 2020.
Of course, since this is related to eSports, you may not be surprised to hear that there are multiple companies entering the market to provide streaming for eSports. Companies like ESPN and even Disney have started to get in on this action, and they aren’t exactly start-up companies!
These are some seriously established businesses, and if they are jumping in to offer live streaming for eSports – you know that eSports is set for continued success.
4. Associated money for competitors
While you may not have any interest in competing in eSports events, we can’t ignore the fact that some competitors are being paid enormous figures for their eSports success. For team events, there have been several tournaments where the payouts have extended into the millions of dollars. That is on a level with mainstream sports such as the NFL or NBA leagues.
Even when you break this down into individual earnings, there are eSports professionals out there that are cleaning more than seven figures on an annual basis. These are figures that simply can’t be ignored, and usually, when there is big money on offer for tournaments, there are some even bigger brands behind them leading the charge.
5. Integration with colleges
When you think of people gaming, it’s hard not to imagine the stereotypical college attendee slacking off in the dorm room and playing video games. Well, this just might be something that colleges are on board with as we advance further into 2020.
Currently, there are over 50 colleges in the US that have varsity eSports on the go, which may sound small, but it’s still early days. The concept is spreading across the globe not at least in the UK where several institutions offered eSport scholarships for 2019/20.. This is set up where college students can take part, and if they are successful they can enjoy thousands of dollars that could be put toward tuition.
All of these facts and figures show an extremely positive trend for the eSports industry, and who knows – maybe that ‘B’ for billion will turn into a ‘T’ one day!