More people are already watching eSports than are watching the NBA Finals and the MLB World Series. The League of Legends Season 3 World Championship, which was staged in the sold-out Staples Center in Los Angeles last October, had 32 million viewers worldwide. Compare that to the 24.4 million viewers who watched 2017’s NBA finals, or the 40 million who watched the 2017 MLB World Series. ESports viewership has almost doubled over the last few years, and the audience size is projected to continue to grow, and unlike most national sports, has the advantage of appealing to a worldwide audience.
The player size for these games is massive. In January, League of Legends – just a single online game – announced that it has 67 million monthly players worldwide. For comparison, only an estimated 24 million people play basketball in the United States, and less than 9 million people play football. Moreover, these players spend a considerable amount of money on the markets around these games – 69% of them buy additional goods/services related to their favorite games, 28% buy related merchandise, 24% spend money betting, and 22% pay for some type of subscription service related to their favorite games.
Online viewing for esports is big business. Amazon owned Twitch
, the leading video game streaming platform used by professional gamers, has become the fourth-leading website
in peak internet traffic in the United States, ahead of Facebook. Amazon recently outbid Google to purchase Twitch for around $1 billion
. Meanwhile, Google owned Youtube caters to over 470 million people who watch online gaming on a regular basis.