Esports Revenue to Grow Five-fold by 2024, Rethink Research Says

A new report from Rethink Research forecasts hefty growth in esports revenue over the next five years, surging from $900 million in 2018 to $5.05 billion in 2024. There is a lot of money to be made in esports, and revenues will be divided up among game publisher fees, sponsorship, media broadcasting rights, tickets and merchandise, tipping and advertising.

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The revenue growth is accelerating ahead of the rate for acquiring new esports enthusiasts, which itself will go from 154 million in 2018 to 377 million in 2024. There is a rising revenue per fan, Rethink Research has found.

This year, esports has burst into mainstream public consciousness and this culminated in Fortnite’s World Cup in July, with an unprecedented audience size and a $30 million pot of prize money. Today esports can make an individual player just as rich as a real world sports star and the Fortnite World cup peaked at 2 million concurrent views dwarfing all previous esports totals, and potentially makes companies involved richer still.

This has happened because esports has broken through in China and South Korea. Further growth likely will be fueled by an expansion of esports’ core demographic beyond the ultra-young white and Asian male, as more females and other demographics get involved.

For Pay TV operators that have yet to make a play in esports, the opportunities will come primarily through growth in casual viewing, attracted by “sanitized” esports competitions with appeal beyond enthusiasts.

There will be scope for traditional media firms to gain media rights and sell advertising. A key aspect of the forecast is that revenues from media rights, where broadcasters gain rights to broadcast tournaments, are set to climb more steeply than any other category of esports monetization over the next five years, posting a 12-fold increase.

The one elephant in the room is esports betting, which in 2018 generated significantly greater revenue than all other categories combined. Although betting involves many esports fans and also presents opportunities to video service providers, it is a distinct sector outside the esports community or ecosystem that can to some extent be regarded as parasitic.

That said, Rethink Research predicts esports betting revenues will increase to $5.7 billion over the forecast period driven, by Asia Pacific with China as the biggest market.

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