For just about as long as humans have been alive, we’ve been finding different ways to compete with each other. Competition is part of our DNA. It drives us forward as a species, trying to find better, faster, and easier ways to do something.
Take horse racing, for example. As soon as humans domesticated horses to help them to do work and to travel, our ancestors also began racing them. When the “motor car” was invented in the late 19th century, we began finding different ways to use them in competition. Today, we race cars over long distances, short distances, on racetracks, on dirt roads, and across the desert. We even use them to see who can “jump” the furthest, who can pull the heaviest load, and who can climb the steepest hill.
So it should come as absolutely no surprise that humans have turned video games into a sport.
Known as “esports”, these competitive video games are played by highly skilled and well-trained athletes.
Just like those that take part in traditional sports, esports athletes are paid prize money when they succeed, sign sponsorship deals, and have large social media followings. Also like traditional sports, fans can bet and Play esports at Betsafe and other reputable sportsbooks.
Over the last decade, the esports market has grown significantly, but can it ever overtake traditional sports?
Esports viewing figures are skyrocketing
It’s a little difficult to get a definitive figure because there are different methodologies for calculating an “esports viewer” and many sources exclude fans in China as they often watch through different platforms.
However, what we do know for certain is that the number of people watching esports events is growing rapidly.
According to Newzoo, in 2018, there were less than 400 million viewers. By the end of last year, that number had shot up to nearly 500 million. This figure is expected to continue to rise at a rate of around 10% per year for the foreseeable future.
However, it’s unlikely to overtake traditional sports any time soon as the numbers pale in comparison. The Olympic Games attracts more than one billion viewers, as does Formula 1. The final of the UEFA Champions League attracts between 300 million and 500 million television viewers each year.
Sports betting market
The global market for sports betting at Casino Winner and other similar sites is expected to surpass $155 billion by 2024. This, again, dwarfs the esports market. In 2020, it was estimated that around $15 billion was wagered on competitive video game events.
This was more than double the size of the market from just four years prior though, showing that there is a growing appetite for this type of wagering.
However, the market for traditional sports betting is also growing at speed thanks to a wave of states legalising the practice in the United States. Therefore, esports is unlikely to catch up or overtake any time soon.
The esports market is exciting and new, and it is clear that there is a lot of room for growth. But it seems unrealistic to expect it to overtake a well-established market for traditional sports.