the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Alex Shao ’22
Under COVID-19’s threats, nations are finding new ways to reopen and re-boost their economy, which often impose more problems on communities that lack health awareness. Therefore, more attention is paid to digital economics and the esports (electronic sports) industry is one of the newly-rising phenomenons. In 2019, the esports industry generated more than $1 billion and had 443 million viewers around the world — more than the total viewership of American football and rugby combined. It is estimated that the viewership will increase to 495 million in 2020 and continue growing to 646 million in 2023.
Why should one care, some might ask, when sports like soccer or basketball have so many more viewers? In contrast with the NBA, which has fans with the average age of 42, most of the viewers for esports competitions range from 15 to 27, younger generations that are becoming the future of the nations. The industry has a significant advantage compared to other sports due to its appeal to younger people, one of the most valuable and elusive markets. Since younger generations are more likely to watch or participate in them, the industry easily gains more profit through advertising and media rights. Companies that want to reach this market would tend to sponsor teams or leagues, which effectively introduces them to the young audience. Almost 75% of the total revenue ($1 billion in 2019) came from sponsorships and media rights, which helped the development of the industry and increased the influence of the sponsors and broadcasters of the competitions. Besides sponsorships and media rights, merchandise has also attracted younger people.
Because of the coronavirus, esports competitions gained more viewership due to its accessibility. There is no discrimination against races, genders, languages, ages and athletic abilities so that everyone can watch or participate. Streaming platforms gain immense viewership thanks to the simplicity in which supporters may participate. A phone or a laptop is the only necessity to watch the competitions, instead of purchasing tickets to watch the games. As digital competitions become more and more popular when everyone is inside, staying safe, the esports industry is earning increasingly more recognition and rapidly becoming a significant economic factor.