SuperData report suggests esports revenue to reach $2.3 billion in 2022

Research company SuperData has published its latest report with more interesting findings around the esports industry. The 14 page PDF covers topics from revenue, through to YouTube and Twitch as well as different game titles and trends.

The report suggests that revenue has hit $1.5 billion (£1.13bn) in 2017 and growth will continue, hitting 26% growth by 2020. SuperData suggests the growth will be fuelled by third-party investments into the space as well as viewership, projected to grow at 12% each year. Furthermore, the report suggests the recent franchising in Overwatch and League of Legends will contribute significantly to the growth by selling around the new leagues. 

Credit: SuperData Research, Esports Courtside Playmakers of 2017

Interestingly, the SuperData report outlines that a staggering 85% of the previously outlined $1.5 billion was contributed by investments and sponsorship/advertisers. Merchandise and ticket sales sit at 5%, with prize pools at 6%. The one that sticks out is betting and amateur tournaments sitting at just 5% of total contributions. It’s not been noted as to how the number is calculated, but given previous estimates of the handle in both the illegal skin betting market and increase in popularity of regulated operators, we would have thought it would be higher. 

The report continues to outline League of Legends continued superiority over Dota 2 in terms of viewership, whilst the latter has a significantly higher prize pool element. It then goes to outline the opportunity the Overwatch League presents before moving onto PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. SuperData suggest that “PUBG is on its way to becoming the first Battle Royale” esport. It states that the game has surpassed 200 million unique viewers in just seven months, and is already closing on League of Legends. Furthermore, it suggests that the viewership is 20 times larger than the player base – suggesting viewers who do not just play the game. We would suggest that the viewership is largely fuelled by the most popular streamers in the world drawing 100,000+ each evening, with the likes of Dr Disrespect and Shroud consistently propelling the title towards the top. The esports tournaments have drawn big crowds, but it’s still a very infant scene that has a lot of issues to iron out. 

The final point of the report analyses the fight for esports viewership between Twitch and YouTube. It suggests that over two thirds (67%) will watch both, with only 20% watching Twitch only and 11% watching YouTube only. The split between esports viewers per platform is a weird one and arguably a transitional phase as YouTube becomes more involved in the scene. Twitch has been the mainstay for esports for a while so habits of more casual consumers may mean they do not notice esports action elsewhere and that could help explain the figures. Still, as shown by ESL Pro League this weekend, when there’s good esports action on – no matter the platform – fans will flock to view it.

Esports Insider says: Some interesting figures from Superdata’s latest report, although we’re not overly surprised by most of them. The PUBG figures remain intriguing but we would argue they’re not strictly esports numbers just yet. We can all accept however, that it has been a great year for esports.