UK esports sees 8.5 percent annual growth between 2016 and 2019

20 October 2020


The UK esports sector has seen an average increase of 8.5 percent annually between 2016 and 2019, according to ‘The Value of Esports in the UK’ report by Olsberg•SPI with Nordicity.

Commissioned by the UK video game trade body Ukie, the report also highlights that last year the sector supported over 1,200 jobs. 

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However, despite this gradual increase the UK esports sector only represents just under 8 percent of the global market.

As a result, The Ukie has responded by providing eight suggestions to the Government to ensure that the UK esports sector continues to grow. These recommendations include providing regular engagement, promoting the UK esports industry, and trying to secure international events.

The Ukie has also asked for the Government to work with the industry to support the export of esports products, such as content for linear broadcast. 

Moreover, the trade body has put forward the motion of the Government working with esports businesses to buy advertising space and run campaigns, as it creates a way to connect with the sector’s young and highly engaged demographic.

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Other recommendations such as providing visa clarity on how esports players and talent should apply for entry into the UK, funding technological innovations, and maintaining regulatory stability, have all been included in an attempt to maintain and strengthen the sectors’ growth. 

Regarding the report’s findings, Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO, Ukie commented: “Esports is a global sector at the intersection of technology, creativity, broadcast and entertainment – all areas of real national strength for the UK. This report shows us that the UK has a strong and growing esports industry, but that there is more to do to capture the full potential of this exciting, high-growth sector.”

The report has also revealed that in 2019 the UK esports sector supported £111.5m in Gross Value Added (GVA), with a major esports event in the country potentially being able to generate 238 full-time equivalents (FTEs) of employment and £12m in GVA for the economy.

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Leon Forde, Managing Director of Olsberg•SPI, stated: “The report underlines the scale and breadth of this highly innovative sector in the UK, with really strong future potential.”

Dustin Chodorowicz, Partner, Nordicity, added: “This first-ever look into the economic impact of the esports sector in the UK shows that it generates employment and GVA not only at esports companies, but also at streaming platforms and games publishers, and within the tourism and hospitality sector.”

Esports Insider says: Whilst the report does outline the growth of the UK esports industry in recent years, it also highlights the sector’s potential if more is done to develop it. Ukie’s eight suggestions delve deep into the topic of strengthening the sector in an attempt to become more a more prominent force in the wider, global industry. However, Ukie also states that the Government must commit to the space if they want to see UK esports flourish and grow at an even faster rate. 

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