We all love eSports. Most of us can’t play regular sports or don’t want to, or simply enjoy gaming on top of football or basketball. Whether you like Dota 2, League of legends, Counter Strike, or Overwatch, there is nothing quite as fun as watching pros play the games we love.
Betting on these matches is a favorite pastime of many as well. However, with low viewership numbers and a lack of major money compared to regular sports, where is the future going? Today we are going to answer the question: What is the future of eSports?
What are the most viewed games?
So before we can decide what the future holds, we must analyze what the present is like. First, let’s look at overall viewership numbers. The best way to figure this out is to look at the most viewed match for each game. First let’s do Counter Strike: Global Offensive. This popular shooter by Valve has many avid followers, even though it isn’t the biggest activity out there. In early 2017, the finals of the Eleague major got slightly more than one million viewers at the same time. This is the current record for the Counter Strike.
Next let’s look at Dota 2, another popular Valve product. It is a lot more popular than CS:GO, and it’s most viewed tournaments get a lot of views. As it stands, the finals of The International 6 for five point eight million viewers. That’s a lot, but not much compared to something like the super bowl.
Let’s move right along to a game that almost everyone has heard of – League of Legends. The undisputed king of all eSports, it reached thirty six million unique viewers in the middle of 2016. With a huge global fan base, LoL might be the first video entertainment to break nine digits in terms of viewers.
Call of Duty used to be a very popular game but since it has cooled off and it isn’t part of the future, we will skip it for now.
That leads to our final action, Overwatch. Overwatch is Blizzard’s take on Team Fortress two and is the most expensive game of all the ones we are reviewing today. It also is the newest, so it’s lack of viewership numbers don’t tell the whole story. It was the most viewed new game in twitch overall, however, it’s small pro scene right now has lead to a lack of data on pro matches. It’s safe to assume that the most watched match is still under five hundred thousand viewers and that Overwatch has quite a ways to go.
Let’s talk about the betting scene currently as well. eSports as a whole are in a similar spot with regards to gambling so there is no need to break them down individually. As we all know, gambling on your favorite video game can be quite entertaining and adds a lot more to the watching experience. Unfortunately, it’s extremely hard to bet on these battles offline in a real sportsbook.
Luckily, online books are more than happy to take your money. You can bet with Bitcoin, items from the Valve you want to bet on, and real life money. The problems with these online books are that they often take down lines early, grade very slowly, and offer limited service. You don’t get a complete selection of battles to bet on in most sportsbooks.
Teams and investments
Finally, we should finish the present analysis by discussing the values of the top franchises and teams in the business. Again this is over the whole of the sport so there is no need to break it down. It’s hard to get an exact value, so let’s use the biggest investments out there to get an idea.
Currently, the whole of the market is valued at around nine hundred and fifty million dollars. A lot of money, but considering that lots of franchises are worth more than that, there is definitely room for improvement. While no exact numbers are known, Dignitas was recently bought by a huge NBA team, and other prominent teams have high value as well. The most valuable franchise is probably worth a maximum of forty million dollars, which again, could use improvement.
So what’s the future?
By now you’re thinking enough of the present, let’s get to the future! So let’s start it off by discussing the projected betting situation. The United States is a huge hotbed with gambling prohibited everywhere except Nevada, and even it is starting to come around to the idea of legalized betting. If that happens, expect books to start popping up across the country.
Gambling is also very popular in the US (mostly done illegally online), and once it is legal, a lot more money will be bet. Of course, eSports will also start being more accessible with offline books. Increasing popularity will also most likely force online sportsbooks to offer better service or become irrelevant. In a few years, expect your favorite games to be just as easy to bet on as soccer or basketball!
Viewership is our next piece of data to look at. Since 2010, the most watched match for each sport has gotten beat every year. This shows that more and more people are watching these things! Many popular websites project that the combined total views in 2018 could exceed one billion factoring in all the battles across all the video games. That’s not a small number and is quite impressive when you stop to think about it. Not much more to say other than watch out for more views and more kappas in twitch chat!
Finally let’s go over the franchise values, as well as the total amount of money in the business overall. Money is a huge factor and makes the world go around, and with all these big investors, things are looking up. Many big names like Joe Montana and other sports stars are talking about buying a franchise or already own one.
On top of this, prize pools are ever increasing and so is team apparel and sponsorship money. The business should top two billion by the end of 2020, and expect it to be a major player against the big traditional sports in the near future. The first battle to ever be broadcast on a popular channel during prime time will probably be near 2022, and soon it will be just as popular as other big sports.
Thanks for reading my article on the current and future state of our favorite amusements. I hope you enjoyed this article. Be on the lookout for future articles, and I will see you next time! Good luck!