Reports: eSports made up to $400m last year, could make $1bn in 2016?

Reports: eSports made up to $400m last year, could make $1bn in 2016?
Chris Higgins

The total revenue of the eSports industry in 2015 was between $325m and $400m, claim two market reports issued by NewZoo and Deloitte this month.

The 2016 Global Esports Market Report released by research firm NewZoo yesterday suggests that this figure will increase to $463m in the coming year, a growth of 43%, while Deloitte places it closer to $500m.

These predictive discrepencies are only further compounded by another report from SuperData Research which believes 2016’s revenue will sit at a cool $1bn.

Of the three, Deloitte’s appraisals appear to be the more level-headed, taking into account the gulf between the regularity of traditional sports venue admittance fees, such as basketball, to the more sporadic eSports schedule.

“People often under-estimate the global annual market size as being in the millions of dollars only,” reads the Deloitte report. “Conversely, esports advocates overestimate the current market size, believing annual revenues are already in the billions, and comparable to major league sports.”

NewZoo claims that of the 112 major eSports events in 2015, $20.6m was generated in ticket revenues, while $61m was issued in prize money.

CEO at NewZoo, Peter Warman, also makes some prescient observations of key trends in the sector as it begins to stabilise after a year of heavy investment.

“2016 will be pivotal for esports,” Warman says. “The initial buzz will settle down and the way forward on several key factors, such as regulations, content rights and involvement of traditional media, will become more clear.”

However, he then goes on to suggest that the ‘collapse of MLG was a reminder that this market still has a long road to maturity’ despite it being a mostly successful acquisition by Activision-Blizzard.

Overall, the reports suggest fair weather ahead but, as always, take your predictive growth models of an immature market sector with a grain of salt.

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