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Esports: A Dynamic, Fast-Growing Industry

March 2021 Nicholas Kuria


From its infancy the 1980s in the form of arcade video gaming, electronic sports (or “esports”) has seen rapid growth in recent years with the advancement in technology and the internet. Briefly, esports are competitive tournaments organized for video game players involving audiences that watch video gamers compete against each other, similar in many ways to the experience of viewing a professional sports event. Esports events comprise competitive leagues and tournaments. Online livestreaming platforms like Twitch have brought esports content to global audiences on a scale that would have been unimaginable in its early days.

Esports is reported to have been worth roughly US$1 billion in 2019, and is projected to grow 400% in the next seven years to US$4.28 billion by 2027, according to Data Bridge Market Research. Total esports viewership is expected to grow at a 9% compound annual growth rate between 2019 and 2023, up from 454 million in 2019 to 646 million in 2023, based on Insider Intelligence estimates.

Beyond the esports industry itself, which comprises the organisers, sponsors, competitors and advertisers of the esports competitions, parallel industries appear set to benefit from the growth in esports and create opportunities beyond gaming events alone. These industries are:

Gaming video content

Gaming video content comprises online media platforms, competitions, video games and sponsors of video game players. Gaming is one of the few sectors that has benefitted from the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, as people have faced extended periods at home and turned to alternative forms of entertainment. The Covid-19 pandemic shifted competition to being digital only whereas previously teams played in crowded arenas in front of large audiences.


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Nicholas Kuria

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