If you’re looking for the latest statistics, trends and data when it comes to esports, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve scrutinized and inspected the internet so you don’t have to.
The result? A compendium of the latest facts on one of the fastest growing industries in the world, with a few future projections, added into the mix.
Index of Esports Statistics
🌐 Global Esports Trends
This year will be remembered as having marked one of the major milestones when it comes to the global esports industry.
2019 will be the first year in which it will break the billion-dollar revenue milestone, with a year-on-year growth of +26.7%. Quite a milestone indeed.
But what are the smaller predictions that comprise this trend? According to Newzoo’s 2019 “Global Esports Market” report:
- In 2018, the global average revenue per enthusiast was $5.00. This year, that number will go up to $5.45.
- There were 737 major events in 2018. They generated $54.7 million in tickets, a small decrease from 2017’s $58.9 million.
- The total prize money saw a steep increase in 2018. Compared to 2017’s $112.1 million, 2018’s total jackpot reached $150.8 million.
- LoL’s World Championship accumulated a total of 53.8 million hours of viewership on Twitch, making it 2018’s biggest tournament by live hours streamed. They sold $1.9 million in tickets.
- In 2018, The Overwatch League generated a total of 79.5 million live viewership hours, ranking #1 by those standards.
- Taking into account the projected revenue of $1.1 billion, the estimated year-on-year growth global revenues in 2019 is +26.7%. Of this amount, $409.1 million will go to North America. China will take $210.3 million.
- The total audience will grow to 453.8 million, reaching a year-on-year growth of +15.0%.
- In 2019, China will lead the way when it comes to esports enthusiasts with 75 million. The U.S. and Brazil will follow closely behind.
- The highest share of fan density - enthusiasts relative to the country’s online population - will be South Korea’s 12%.
🌎 Leading Esports Countries
One of the many things that make esport such a big sensation is its global appeal. Everywhere in the world (and thanks primarily to the network effects of the internet) people are gathering together to play, watch, commentate and dream of becoming pro-players. Some of them even make it.
The question remains: where in the world, exactly? Let’s look at this chart from Statista:
- In more details, we know that while more than 50% of the world’s frequent esports viewers and enthusiasts come from the Asia Pacific region, Europe finds itself second with 16%.
- We also know that North America will generate around $409 million in revenue in 2019. That marks their share as 37% world-wide.
👁🗨 Game Viewership
In 2018, the esports audience size totalled to be quite impressive, reaching 173 million frequent viewers (plus another 222 million occasional viewers). But what are the specific games behind these numbers? Looking at the biggest esport events of the season may shed some light:
Top 10 Most Viewed Esports Events by Unique Views
To compare it with other years (and other games) here’s a list of the top 10 most viewed events (by unique views) in all of esports history.
|1||League of Legends World Championship||99.6 Million||2018|
|2||LoL Mid-Season Invitational||60 Million||2018|
|3||CS:GO's ELEAGUE Major||56 Million||2018|
|4||Dota 2’s ‘The International’||52.8 Million||2018|
|5||LoL World Championship||43 Million||2016|
|6||CSF World Championship||37 Million||2017|
|7||LoL World Championship||36 Million||2015|
|8||Intel Extreme Masters Katowice||34 Million||2016|
|9||LoL World Championship||32 Million||2013|
|10||DreamHack Masters Malmo||31 Million||2017|
🖥 Stream Viewership
The sheer amount of views amassed by different tournaments through streaming are hard to wrap your head around.
- According to sportspromedia.com, the top four world’s esport events in 2018, if put together, total an incredible 190.1 million hours of streaming. That shows a 6.9% growth across the entire industry compared to the prior year.
But the popularity of different franchises is not the only reason for the industry’s unparalleled growth.
The other key players (perhaps even more key than the individual games themselves) to take into account are the streaming platforms that make the whole of esports possible: Twitch and Youtube. If we look at StreamElements’ 2018 ‘State of The Industry’ report, as reported by TechCrunch:
- In 2018, Twitch still dominates the market. In the third quarter of that year alone, the streaming platform amassed a total of 2.5 billion hours watched. Youtube trails behind, but is closing the gap.
- YouTube Live (the company’s live streaming platform) started 2018 with 15% of the industry’s viewership, but by September their portion grew to 25%.
- Twitch peaked the year with a total of 813 million hours viewed in September, with a monthly average of 750 million viewers.
- Youtube Live, on the other hand, streamed 226 million hours that same month.
But although Twitch seems to have total control of the market, not everything is good news for the Amazon-owned company. Their top 100 channels haven’t grown much. In fact, they have reduced in size by a small percentage.
- In January 2017, the top 100 channels streamed 262 million hours and by September, that number dropped to 254 million.
- Of the total Twitch viewership, esports only amounts to around 9% to 17%.
🏆 Tournament Prize Money in Esports
Tournaments are the community’s crowning jewel. They put viewers and pro-players in the same room, and the energy that comes out of this union never fails to be electrifying.
But, cammadarity aside, these tournaments’ stakes are quite real. The largest prize pools are, to put it mildly, quite substantial.
- Dota 2 leads the charge with the biggest prize pool compared to all other esports tournaments. The amount of money up for grabs during the 2017-2018 season was a grand $41.26 million.
- During that year’s ‘The International’, for example, the prize pool amounted to $25.5 million. Still, “The International” isn’t the only Dota 2 tournament teams had their eyes on. The other 9 tournaments of the season gave out $1 million each.
- Another extremely popular game, Fortnite, had a total prize pool of $19.96 million for their 2017-2018 season.
- As if that weren’t enough, Fortnite’s creator Epic Games committed another $100 million in prizes for their 2018-2019 season, aiming for a fourfold increase.
- Although League Of Legends stands #1 when it comes to viewership, their prizes aren’t quite as substantial. The LoL prize pool for 2018 was a meagre (**scoff**) $14.12 million, an increase from 2017’s 12 million.
For a more bird’s eye view of the industry’s prize pools (and their staggering growth), let’s look at the top 10 tournament pools in esports history.
|1||The International 9||$33 million||Dota|
|2||Fortnite World Cup||$30 million||Fortnite|
|3||The International 8||$25.5 million||Dota|
|4||The International 7||$24.6 million||Dota|
|5||The International 6||$20.7 million||Dota|
|6||The International 5||$18.4 million||Dota|
|7||The International 4||$10.9 million||Dota|
|8||Fortnite Summer Skirmish Series||$8 Million||Fortnite|
|9||LoL 2018 World Championship||$6.4 million||LoL|
|10||LoL 2016 World Championship||$5 million||LoL|
|11||LoL 2017 World Championship||$4.9 million||LoL|
|12||Fortnite Fall Skirmish Series||$2 million||Fortnite|
|13||Dota 2 Asia Championship 2015||$3 million||Dota|
|14||The Boston Major 2016||$3 million||Dota|
|15||The Frankfurt Majot 2015||$3 million||Dota|
💸 Player Earnings
Professional Players earnings in all sports, including esports, are hard to calculate. It’s hard to know exactly how much money they make if you look at more than just their regular salaries. So, to understand the landscape, let’s look at the three main earning streams for esports pro-players.
The big prizes are for the winners, of course, but still, they give a glance on the amount of money an esports pro can make in a single day. Let’s use Dota 2’s The International (2018) as an example.
- During that tournament alone, the winning team (OG) took home a grand total of $11,234,158.00.
- Each Dota 2 team is comprised of 5 players, which means each player earned a total of $224 thousand.
- The teams that landed in the second and third place took home $4,085,148 and $2,680,879 respectively.
- On the lower end of the spectrum, teams that ranked 17-18th in the tournament took home a combined $63,830. Still not that bad for a single day.
Esports Players' Salaries
Salaries are a hard thing to pinpoint. Most teams don’t reveal how much they pay their players, although that is changing.
- Average pro gamers can earn from $1,000 to $5,000 per month.
- Mid-level and good professional players earnings total to around $15,000 per month.
- High level players, on the other hand, can sometimes earn up to a million dollars per year (around $85,000 per month)
Sponsors are the ones that really make the difference for professional teams and their teams. There isn’t much information on the topic out there, but here’s a glimpse of the kind of deals we’re looking at:
- For example, In January 2017, the Astralis Counter-Strike team cut a sponsorship deal with Audi for a total of $750,000.
- In 2018, the sportswear brand Nike decided to sponsor not a team, but a single player: Jian “Uzi” Zihao. The total amount of the sponsorship hasn’t been revealed so far.
- More recently, Riot Games brought in Warner Music and Tchibo as sponsors for the premiere of the LEC (League of Legends European Championship.) They haven’t specified the details of how exactly the sponsorship will look like.
- In mid-june of this year, the spanish Team Heretics announced adidas as its technical sponsor by showcasing their new jersey for the Call of Duty World League Championship.
Top 10 Teams by Prize Money (2019)
|#||Team||Prize Money||Tournaments Played|
💰 VC Investment
The esports industry keeps growing year after year, and where there is growth there’s always money behind. The last few years have been quite a success when it comes to VC funding.
- In the first half of 2018 alone, with a total of 60 deals, the Global venture investment in the sector amounted to a total of $701 million, according to Crunchbase.
- In the first half of 2017, that number was $403.7 million (with a total of 53 deals).
- In January 2018, TeamSoloMid (TSM) raised a Series A round of $37 million thanks to the help of Bessemer, NBA’s Stephen Curry and Telstra Ventures.
- In June, PlayVs, the LA-based company that is trying to build the infrastructure for high school esports raised a series A of $15 million.
In other news, also in 2018, TechCrunch reported that:
- Investment in esports and Gaming combined surpassed $2.5 billion in VC funding.
- Saphira Ventures raised $115 million to invest specifically at the intersection of media, sports, tech and entertainment.
- ReKTGlobal, a provider of infrastructure services, raised a total of $10.8 million.
Regarding 2019, the EsportsObserver reported that:
- The Chinese live streaming platform Douyu filed a preliminary IPO application with the SEC on April 22, hoping to raise $500 million.
- Also in April, aXiomatic, Team Liquid’s parent company disclosed a $21.5 million dollar funding round, adding to the $50 million they had raised in 2018.
- Gen. G disclosed a round of $46 million - the largest of the year to date.
- King Pro League team YTG Gaming raised a $1.49 million series A funding through a round co-led by Chinese VC firm’s Yingdong Capital.
🎮 Esports x Traditional Sports
Traditional sports are huge, yes. Football (or Soccer, if you’re American) alone, has a total of 4 billion fans across the world. And although esports can’t boast those numbers, they are starting to compete, especially when it comes to prizes and audience size. Just to give an example:
- Dota 2’s “The International” prize pool of $25 million surpasses the total money awarded by some of the biggest traditional sports tournaments in the world.
- The Daytona 500 gives out $15.5 million. The Golf U. S. Open, $12 million. The famous Tour de France, awards 2.3 million euros.
- According to The Washington Post, ‘The International’s audience size was larger than Wimbledon’s, the Daytona 500’s, the U. S. Open and the Tour de France, amounting to about the same as the Kentucky Derby.
- But in terms of revenue, esports still trail behind. The NFL and MLB, for example, each brought in over $10 billion in 2017. League of Legends, on the other hand, made $2.1 billion that same year, and 1.4 B throughout 2018.
When it comes to popularity in the United States, a 2018 Washington Post poll found that:
- 58% of 14 to 21 year-olds have watched live or recorded esports.
- Around that same percentage of people have played those games.
- Among American adults taken as a whole, 16% claim to have watched competitive video gaming.
- That same poll found that, while 40% of young Americans identify as fans of the NFL, 38% of them identify as esport fans.
📱 Mobile Games
Although Mobile Games are not a main part of the community, their prominence is rising. As iPhone and Android games get better, their presence in professional events will increase. But first, some facts regarding Mobile Games in general.
According to App Annie’s “Mobile Games Data Report” we know:
- Mobile Games represent around 10% of the time we spend on our apps.
- In the US, there’s an average of 8 games installed per device.
- Worldwide, people play an average of 2 to 5 times per month.
- Yet, 74 cents of every dollar going through the app store do so due to games. Of that money, 95% comes from in-app purchases (compared to paid games.)
Knowing all that, the rise of mobile esports makes more sense. In fact, here are some statistics about the mobile industry specifically.
- In 2018, the top 10 mobile pro-players, if put together, took home $8 million in prizes only.
- In China, games that are also a part of esports represent 24% of the Top Grossing Titles on Android, according to Newzoo.
- In December of last year, the top six “Clash Royale” teams in the world faced off in Tokio for the first time. The season had a grand total of $1 million in prizes.
- We also know that, from “Clash Royale”’s season opening in August to November, this particular esport generated 2.1 million hours viewed on YouTube. (They don’t formally broadcast on Twitch). This is a steep increase from the same period the year before, in which Clash Royale viewers watched about 1.5 million hours on YouTube.