The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every industry around the world, and Esports is one of them. As people all over the world have free time, fans have started watching more content than they used to. New viewers are joining Esportsas, a hobby, replacing traditional sporting events that canceled due to the pandemic.
Most people are just trying this new genre of entertainment and are spending their free time there. The industry has, without a doubt, seen amazing and drastic growth during this pandemic. From the prize pool and a number of Esports tournaments to live-streaming and increased viewership, everything increased.
Growth of the Industry
Experts expect Esports to grow significantly over the next few years, increasing to more than $1.4 billion by 2024. The growth rate of Esports in 2020 is expected to be 25%. More than one-third of that growth will come from North America. As companies around the NA region have invested in esports events, people from all around the world will tune in. Coronavirus is a major reason why Esports has grown in such a short time. In fact, researchers expect the global esports market to continue growing even after the pandemic is over.
Before the pandemic, the Esports industry was already growing into a global force. In 2019, the market surpassed $1 billion for the first time. In March alone, viewership to the popular video game live-streaming platform Twitch raised to 23 percent. In other words, tracking websites recorded about 1.2 billion watch hours. In the betting community OLBG’s study about the trends of gaming, they looked at the games that experienced the largest spikes in popularity in the past few months while comparing to the previous results.
The World is Going Digital
Looking at sales and downloads does not offer a complete idea, as many games are free but include in-app purchases. But if we look into other metrics for engagement, we can see that both are the same stories.
Verizon reports an increase in their gaming traffic in peak hours of up to 75%, as compared to the increase of 20% in web traffic, and 12% in digital video traffic. Meanwhile, data from Streamlabs shows streaming platforms such as Facebook Gaming, YouTube Gaming, and Twitch also experiencing increased growth.
When the NHL season did not air during the lockdown of 2004-05, poker utilized that space. Through this free time slot, Poker found the opportunity to broadcast and became the staple on television. COVID-19 has hinted at a similar opportunity for Esports. This way, Esports can gain a foothold and grow exponentially with their mainstream sports audience who never gave Esports a second thought. Esports was growing drastically before coronavirus. As only a few sports are being played, this is the brightest opportunity, and blossoming future with more glows.