As gamers compete for millions in prize money, the notable spike in the number of esports viewers during the COVID-19 pandemic is maintaining its upward trend. In 2020, there were more than 435 esports viewers, marking a 10% increase from the year before. In 2021, that number rose to 474 million viewers.
“If traditional companies don’t understand why video games are the largest entertainment industry in the world right now, then there has to be a shift,” said G2 Esports CEO and founder Carlos Rodriguez.
“It’s a matter of time, right? But the longer the traditional sports industry waits to adapt, the tougher it’s going to be to upgrade and update themselves.”
According to Rodriguez, esports provide better online content to engage and entertain young fans, unlike traditional sports.
Esports fans watched the 2020 League of Legends World Championship for 139.8 million hours.
The 2020 League of Legends World Championship final had almost four million peak viewers, with 126 hours of air time and a prize pool of $2,255,000.
League of Legends and other esports games interact with their audience through live streams, videos, even comic books. According to Rodriguez, traditional sports are too dependent on star players.
“If you get LeBron James tomorrow as a player, you don’t have to create a single piece of content about your team. You will automatically sell millions of jerseys. Period. We very often get compared with traditional sports teams, and I think that comparison does a disservice to what an esports organization really is about.”
Esports global revenue reached $947million in 2020.
The upward trajectory of revenue being generated from esports shows no signs of slowing down. The sport earned $947 million in 2020, with estimates that it will surpass $1 billion in 2021, according to Newzoo’s Global Esports & Live Streaming Market Report.
The betting industry, including new betting websites, recognizes the potential of the esports market and is offering an increasingly diverse selection of betting options for this competitive scene.