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eSports: Here to stay!

By Demetris Constantinou, APC Sports Consulting, Nicosia, Cyprus

Over the past decade, the eSports’ industry has experienced phenomenal growth, leading people to question the conventional definition of sports, one that assumes the involvement of physicality.

In short, one side argues that eSports do not necessarily constitute a sport because they lack the physical aspect that we are used to seeing in sports, such as basketball, football, tennis and others.

On the contrary, the other side suggests that eSports, through their competitive nature, as well as their popularity and ability to entertain, should definitely be included in the basket of sports.

In this article, we do not seek to take part in this debate, but rather to explain why eSports, through their financial outlook and popularity, are here to stay.

When looking at the numbers, it is estimated that the eSports’ market is expected to reach a valuation of US$6.31 Billion by 2027, about 6 times its current valuation of US$1.1 Billion[1].

Whilst this may sound trivial, it is an insane increase in valuation over a short period of years which sets up the industry for growing dominance and popularity. Nevertheless, we cannot put things into perspective unless we compare eSports to the conventional sports’ industry. In terms of viewership, eSports are estimated to have the second largest viewer base in the United States by the end of 2021, with over 84 million viewers and more viewers than the MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS. The only league estimated to attract greater viewership is the NFL, by far the most popular league in the US.[2]

Looking at it from a monetary standpoint, the U.S. Open, one of the most famous Tennis Tournaments around the world, had a prize pool of US$39 Million in 2020 for Men and Women’s singles.[3] Comparing that to the Dota 2 International Tournament 2020 Prize Pool, which was valued at approximately US$40 Million,[4] makes one realize that a professional Tennis player winning the U.S. Open could potentially be making less than a Professional eSports team winning the Dota 2 International Tournament.

Whilst the above comparisons give us great context into the popularity of eSports, they do not quite explain why the eSports’ industry is sustainable. After all, how do we know that this is not just a flare up that is going to go away? The answer is simple, the eSports’ industry has among the youngest fanbases in all sports with about 73% of its fanbase being around the ages of 16-34.[5] Furthermore, the vast majority of eSports engagement comes from Online TV as opposed to the conventional cable or offline TV. Both the fanbase, as well as the means of watching eSports, make the eSports’ market growth a matter of when, rather than a matter of how.

Moreover, the Coronavirus pandemic put the eSports’ industry at the center of entertainment during the lockdowns of 2020. As the world transitions into online formats, eSports entertainment has left its mark on the lives of many people who will continue to embrace eSports in the post-pandemic era.

Whilst it is clear that, based on the above impressive financial, fan base and viewing statistics, eSports are here to stay, it will be interesting to follow the rate at which eSports will continue to grow, as well as the means by which eSports will seek to expand and gain popularity around the world.

Website: ‘www.apc-sport.com’

 

[1] Global e-sport market size to showcase 24.4% CAGR over 2020-2027 - Global e-sports market size to showcase 24.4% CAGR over 2020-2027 (yahoo.com).

[2] With Viewership and Revenue Booming, Esports Set to Compete with Traditional Sports - Esports vs Sports | Can Esports Compete with Traditional Sports? (syracuse.edu).

[3]2020 US Open Prize Money - Prize Money | History of the US Open - Official Site of the 2021 US Open Tennis Championships - A USTA Event.

[4] The Dota 2 International Tournament Prize Pool - The International 10 - Dota 2 Prize Pool Tracker (prizetrac.kr).

[5] With Viewership and Revenue Booming, Esports Set to Compete with Traditional Sports - Esports vs Sports | Can Esports Compete with Traditional Sports? (syracuse.edu).

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Sports Law & Taxation features: articles; comparative surveys; commentaries on topical sports legal and tax issues and documentation.

The unique feature of Sports Law & Taxation is that this Journal combines  up-to-date valuable and must-have information on the legal and tax aspects of sport and their interrelationships.

Global Sports Law and Taxation Reports feature: articles; comparative surveys; commentaries on topical sports legal and tax issues and documentation.

The unique feature of Global Sports Law and Taxation Reports is that this Journal combines for the first time up to-date valuable and must-have information on the legal and tax aspects of sport and their interrelationships.

The Editors

The editors of  the Journal Sports Law & Taxation are Professor Ian Blackshaw and Dr Rijkele Betten, with specialist contributions from the world's leading practitioners and academics in the sports law and taxation fields.

The Editors

Managing editor
Dr. Rijkele Betten

Consulting editor
Prof. Dr. Ian S. Blackshaw

Editorial board

Prof. Guglielmo Maisto
Maisto e Associati, Milano

Dr. Dick Molenaar
All Arts Tax Advisors, Rotterdam

 

Mr. Kevin Offer
Hardwick & Morris LLP, London

Mr. Mario Tenore
Pirola Pennuto Zei & Associati, Milano

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