Once a fringe sector populated by a small but tight-knit community of professional gamers and fans, esports have grown to a fully independent industry that rakes in more than $1 billion in yearly revenue. A decade before, esports tournaments were mainly housed by internet cafes or played online. Nowadays, they fill up stadiums and garner millions of views. Esports statistics clearly indicate that the industry is experiencing unprecedented growth and shows no signs of stopping. Here, we take a deep dive into the available data to provide you with insight into how and why esports keep growing.
30 Telling Esports Statistics Reveal a Booming Industry
Statistics on Esports – Editors Choice
- The global esports market was valued at $1.08 billion in 2021.
- In 2020, sponsorships made up the bulk of esports market revenue, bringing in $584.1 million.
- China will generate 21.8% of the global esports market revenue in 2023.
- Global esports viewership was 495 million in 2020 and is expected to grow to 646 million by 2023.
- 72% of all US esports viewers are male.
- Approximately 35% of esports players are female.
- Sitting at $34 million, the Dota 2 International 10 is the esports tournament with the biggest prize pool.
- The top 31 players by earned prize money are all Dota 2 players.
Esports Industry Statistics
1. The global esports market was valued at $1.08 billion in 2021.
Over the previous decade, the esports market has been growing steadily. According to data gathered by Statista, the global esports market was valued at just over $1.08 billion in 2021, up from $947.1 in 2020. Esports are expected to continue growing in the upcoming years, with esports growth statistics revealing that the market will reach $1.62 billion in 2024.
2. The esports market is expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 24.4% in the 2020-2027 period.
(Grand View Research)
The skyrocketing popularity of esports translates to significantly higher revenues, mainly from media rights and lucrative sponsorships. According to Grand View Research, the esports industry growth data shows that the market will grow at a CAGR of 24.4% from 2020 to 2027.
3. In 2020, sponsorships made up the bulk of esports market revenue, bringing in $584.1 million.
Esports revenue statistics tell us that sponsorships are still behind the majority of revenue generated in the esports market. Coming from both gaming-related brands and those generally unaffiliated with video games, they represent a major source of income for both players and organizations. Out of the $950.3 million esports earnings generated by this market in 2020, $584.1 million was from sponsorships, followed by media rights ($163.3 mil) and publisher fees ($108.9 mil).
4. By 2023, media rights are predicted to surpass sponsorships as the largest source of esports revenue.
An esports industry analysis shows that sponsorships are now, by far, the largest revenue source in the esports sector. However, esports industry statistics forecast a change in the relations between various revenue streams. According to newly available data, media rights are expected to generate $598 million in 2023, followed by sponsorships, whose revenue contributions are expected to fall to $506 million in that year.
5. In 2019, North America held a 37% share of the global esports market.
Unsurprisingly, the North American region held, by far, the largest share of the worldwide esports market. This is mainly due to the fact that the US is home to the largest esports companies. NA held 37%, followed by China with 19%, and South Korea with 6%. The rest of the world combined held 38%, just 1% more than North America.
6. Statistics about esports predict that China will generate 21.8% of the global esports market revenue in 2023.
Over the last couple of years, China’s contribution to the esports industry has continually been growing. This is to be expected, as China is home to some 665 million gamers – an incredible potential for esports market growth. According to data on the growth of esports by region, China will account for 21.8% of all revenue generated in the esports market in 2023. The US will still be on top, accounting for 28.7% – $1.8 billion.
7. China is the most lucrative market in terms of generated video game revenue, raking in $40.85 billion in 2020.
While esports gaming statistics have shown that North America holds the largest market share in the esports sector, China is the biggest revenue generator in the global video game market. In 2020, China generated $40.85 billion, followed by the US with $36.92 billion.
8. Investments in the esports industry are on the rise, reaching $4.5 billion in 2018 – an 837% year-over-year increase from 2017.
Another sign of the rapid growth of the esports industry is the huge uptick in investments. The number of investments, according to Deloitte, doubled from 34 to 68 in the 2017-2018 period. Esports statistics from Deloitte’s esports report show that investments reached $4.5 billion in 2018 – an 837% increase from 2017.
Esports Viewership Statistics
9. Global esports viewership was 495 million in 2020 and is expected to grow to 646 million by 2023.
One hugely important metric to look at when assessing the rise of esports is viewership. As esports and video games in general become increasingly intertwined with traditional popular culture, the popularity of esports events increases. The available data shows that global esports viewership was at 495 million in 2020 and is expected to climb to 646 million by 2023.
10. Out of 474 million esports viewers in 2021, more than half were occasional viewers.
Esports viewership statistics tell us that a significant portion of people who watch esports events are occasional viewers. This indicates that esports have started reaching people with only a casual interest in gaming tournaments and not only hardcore fans. According to data gathered by Statista, out of 474 million esports viewers in 2021, 240 million were occasional viewers. Viewership structure is predicted to remain more or less the same in 2024 when we expect about 291.6 million viewers to be occasional ones, while 285.7 million will be esports enthusiasts.
11. The US alone is expected to have 46.2 million esports viewers by 2023.
The US is one of the largest markets, so it’s no wonder the US esports viewership numbers are very high. The latest stats tell us that there are 39.2 million US esports viewers in 2021. Esports viewership growth will continue, with the number of esports watchers predicted to rise to 46.2 million by 2023.
12. 72% of US esports viewers are male.
(IDC and Esports Charts)
Esports and video games in general have a reputation for being a male arena. While we can only guess whether there are fewer female gamers or they’re just less visible, it seems that American esports game tournaments viewers are predominantly male. Drawing from the esports audience demographics joint study conducted by IDC and Esports Charts, 72% of all US esports viewers are male. This is, in fact, an increase in female viewers, as previous research has shown that in 2016, 81% of the audience was male.
13. It is estimated that 35% of esports players are female.
The gender gap seems to be shrinking when it comes to professional gamers. According to esports gender statistics showcased by VentureBeat, over a third (35%) of all esports professional gamers in 2018 were female.
14. The pandemic-induced lockdown resulted in Twitch viewership jumping by 99%.
(IDC and Esports Charts)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to stay indoors, many turned to their favorite streaming platforms to pass the time. The IDC/Esports Charts study has shown that Twitch hours viewed have increased from December 2019 to May 2020 by 99% – 867 million hours vs. 1.72 billion hours watched.
15. Esports viewers statistics reveal that total hours watched for the 15 most popular games on Twitch have increased by 88%.
(IDC and Esports Charts)
If we look at the previous statistic, this data is not that surprising. In the IDC/Esports Charts study, researchers have looked at hours watched for the 15 most popular games on Twitch – including League of Legends, Dota 2, CS: GO, and others. From December 2019 to May 2020, the number of hours watched for these games increased by 88%.
16. Esports demographics tell us that the mean age of a US esports fan is 32.
(IDC and Esports Charts)
The proliferation of video games and the increased popularity of video game tournaments are fairly new occurrences. Therefore, it’s to be expected that younger people will form the backbone of the esports fanbase. Drawing from the research conducted by the IDC and Esports Charts, the mean age of an American esports fan is 32.
17. 80% of esports fans in America in 2019 were 44 years old or younger.
(IDC and Esports Charts)
Looking at the same IDC and Esports Charts study of the video game industry, we can see that the showcased esports viewers statistics show that the vast majority of esports fans in the US – 80% of them – are 44 years old or younger.
18. In 2019, 32% of users aged 16 to 24 watched esports.
Research examining the popularity of esports among different age groups has revealed that video game tournaments are most popular among users belonging to the 16-24 age group. The available data indicates that 32% respondents of this age group watch esports, compared to only 6% of respondents aged 55 to 64.
19. 7% of US male esports fans in 2020 described themselves as avid, compared to 3% of female fans.
This is another bit of data highlighting the gender differences among esports fans. According to the women in esports statistics presented by Statista, 3% of female respondents could be described as avid esports fans, 10% of them were casual fans, while 87% of female respondents weren’t fans at all. On the other hand, 7% of interviewed males considered themselves avid esports fans.
20. The average esports viewer watches esports content for at least 84 minutes at a time.
Esports streaming statistics tell us that the average esports viewer devotes at least 84 minutes at a time to watching this type of content. This is above what users watching traditional sports devote to following matches. However, this is still less than what a single football match lasts, which is 90 minutes.
21. In Q3 2020, audiences watched 7.46 billion hours of content across all streaming platforms.
Another method of assessing how much is the esports industry worth and how popular it is, is looking at viewership data on popular streaming platforms. According to Streamlabs’ esports statistics, users watched 7.46 billion hours of content across all streaming platforms in the July-September period of 2020. Year-over-year, the live streaming sector grew by 91.8%, as the total hours watched in Q3 2019 reached 3.89 billion.
22. 63.6% of all hours streamed were on Twitch.
Twitch is, without a doubt, the most popular esports streaming platform on the internet. 63.6% of the 7.46 billion hours streamed in Q3 2020 was on Twitch. Next in line are YouTube Gaming Live with 22.5% (1.68 billion hours) and Facebook (1.04 billion).
Esports Tournament and Team Statistics
23. Sitting at $34 million, the Dota 2 International 10 is the esports tournament with the biggest prize pool.
Statistics on esports show that thanks to Valve’s prize pool crowdfunding system that puts a portion of all Dota 2 Battle Pass purchases towards the International prize pool, this tournament has been consistently top-ranked in terms of the monetary prize available.
24. Team Liquid earned $36.35 million in prize money throughout their career.
The data from 2021 shows that this professional esports team has cumulatively earned the most prize money so far – $36.35 million. Team Liquid has squads for multiple games, with the most successful ones being for Counter-Strike: GO and Dota 2. Esports team statistics reveal that other high-earning teams have also earned their stripes mainly in the Dota 2 International tournament, including OG ($34.39 million earned) and Evil Geniuses ($24.35 million earned).
25. The League of Legends 2020 World Championship was watched for 139 million hours in total.
While Dota 2’s International tournament has the highest prize pools, the League of Legends World Championship garners the most views. The latest LoL Worlds, held in 2020, was watched for 139 million hours in total, overtaking the previously most-watched esports event – the 2019 Fortnite World Cup.
26. The League of Legends team, Fnatic, has a win rate of 65%.
Statistics on esports show that one League of Legends pro team – Fnatic – had a career win rate of 65%. Fnatic is one of the largest esports organizations in the world, boasting a strong team in practically all major esports games.
27. N0tail is the esports player with the highest prize money earnings in the world.
Johan Sundstein aka N0tail, the Dota 2 team OG captain, is the player with the most prize money earned throughout his career – $6.97 million so far. Behind him are two other Dota 2 pros – Jerax ($6.4 mil) and ana ($6 mil).
28. The top 31 players in terms of earned prize money are all Dota 2 players.
When we put aside esports sponsorship statistics, Dota 2 seems to be the most lucrative esports around. The reason for this are the massive prize pools for the Dota 2 International tournaments. The top 31 professional players ranked by prize pool winnings are all Dota 2 pros, with the 32nd and 33rd place belonging to Fortnite players.
29. The Esports Charts has 18,286 professional teams in its database.
The esports industry is massive, with thousands of people playing professionally or employed in esports organization and event management. Another bit of telling data is that Esports Charts, a database collecting all sorts of esports data, lists 18,286 professional teams.
30. League of Legends esports statistics tell us that the 2018 LoL World Championship had 2 million views more than Super Bowl that year.
According to CNBC, the 2018 LoL World Championship had 2 million views more than the Super Bowl that year – 100 million vs. 98 million. However, some analysts have claimed that CNBC compared completely different viewership metrics in this case. Additionally, this was, at the time, the least-watched Super Bowl in years.
Is esports on the rise?
Absolutely, as both viewership and esports economics statistics show that esports are becoming both increasingly popular and lucrative.
Who is the #1 gamer in the world?
When we look at prize pool money earned, the Dota 2 pro N0Tail is the most successful player, accruing $6.97 million so far.
Is esports a billion-dollar industry?
Yes. In 2021, the esports market’s value stands at $1.08 billion and is expected to rise.
Will esports be bigger than sports?
While some research firms do report that esports will overtake traditional sports in 2021, many of these predictions have proven to be inflated or unverifiable. Judging by the earnings of the highest paid footballers or the richest golf players, taking over traditional sports will be no easy task.
Who is watching esports?
People of all ages, but the most-present demographic are males younger than 44.