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Esports Are Growing, But Not Everyone Is Reaping The Financial Rewards

Esports may not be on the same level as other sporting events… yet – but its future still looks bright

Photo Credit: ELLA DON

The growing esports market is seeing intrigue from all over the globe, however, for many, this growth is still not resulting in financial gain.

In a report from the Sports Business Journal, the gap between esports growth and financial gain was brought into focus. Even some of the biggest names in esports are making a loss despite increased interest in the market each year. According to Kellen Browning of the New York Times, some sports owners have “soured on the industry’s short-term prospects” and that “methods that make money in traditional sports – like building fan bases in specific cities and striking lucrative deals with television networks – don’t always apply” Browning also states that most have “not yet turned a profit or seen a return on their investments”.

Even some of the biggest names such as Riot Games and Activision Blizzard have functioned for some time making a loss and are only just now seeing themselves breaking even on their esports endeavours. While many big events sell well, these ticket prices cost less than that of more traditional sporting events and viewership can be seen to fluctuate.

In it for the long haul

Big-name mobile games developer Supercell hosted its largest competition yet for the Brawl Stars Championship which saw a massive $1 million prize pool at the recent Brawl Stars World Finals. Peak and average viewer figures show a 50% increase from last year, however the majority of those viewers would watch the broadcast for only on average 30 minutes. 

It would be unrealistic for those working within the esports market to expect it to rise to the same levels as other sporting events in only a few years, but with the likes of Twitch and YouTube deals being less consistent than originally expected and certain returns on events not breaking even, it leaves some facing losses. 

CEO at esports organisation Misfits Gaming, Ben Spoont commented on growth stating that it had “not materialised as fast as we had hoped.” However, anything that is breaking new ground tends to take a moment to reap the full benefits. Sometimes, you have to spend money to make money and esports overall is still very much in its early stages. If you look at how far the space has come in recent years, there’s a lot to be enthusiastic and hopeful about. 

Recently the EU Parliament passed a long-term strategy to support funds for the esports and video games industry. In India, big-name games such as PUBG have seen bans, however, despite this the esports space is still growing and India is zeroing in on its goals of creating a lucrative esports market. The recent League of Legends World Championship marks the game’s most-watched event ever, with a peak viewership of 5.1 million. 

While there may still be some growing pains to wade through in the esports market, it’s still impressive to see just how far it has come in such a small amount of time. Given more time, these perhaps smaller esports teams and events, which at the moment may be working at a loss, could see their time and efforts pay off in the long run. 

Photo by ELLA DON on Unsplash.

Written By

Paige Cook is a writer with a multi-media background. She has experience covering video games and technology and also has freelance experience in video editing, graphic design, and photography. Paige is a massive fan of the movie industry and loves a good TV show, if she is not watching something interesting then she's probably playing video games or buried in a good book. Her latest addiction is virtual photography and currently spends far too much time taking pretty pictures in games rather than actually finishing them.

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