Ah, the saga of the COVID-19 pandemic times. A year that led you and many to take up quirky survival tactics to fight boredom. From Netflix bingeing to endlessly hopping on Zoom calls with long-lost buddies. The shift to online life was real. Travel restrictions and job woes added to the chaos. Now, talking about sports enthusiasts. Their world took a hit with canceled sporting events. That dragged the sports industry’s revenue from US$129 billion in 2019 to only US$73.7 billion in 2020. 

Yet, amidst the turmoil, eSports stood firm. It boasted of a stable 435.7 million audience in 2020. Because more individuals explored alternative types of entertainment. Fast forward to 2023, and that audience has swelled to 532 million, with revenues on a steady rise. 

Keep reading to find the massive eSports revenue that you have been avoiding a blink for. And 55 more statistics and facts about the eSports industry. One more thing. Did you think you were alone in feeling the sting of event cancellations in 2020? Think again. Imagine Dragons and Lady Gaga fans shed a tear, too.

Top 8 eSports Stats and Facts (So Crazy, They Sound Scripted)

#1. N0tail is the highest-paid eSports professional player.

#2. There are 6.89 million active Twitch streamers worldwide as of 2023.

#3. The United States is the top region based on eSports revenue, overtaking China.

#4. As of November 2023, ninja was the most-followed live streamer on Twitch. His full name is Richard Tyler Blevins.

#5. A total of 532 million people followed eSports worldwide.

#6. In a survey in 2021. 14% of participants worldwide dropped a shocking response. They said 

they’d be ready to shell out between 41 and 60 U.S. dollars for a ticket to an eSports event.

#7. The global eSports market was valued at US$1.38 billion in 2022.

#8. Over 84% of Chinese eSports fans were surveyed in April 2022. They said they watched and played eSports tournaments on their mobile phones.

Revenue and Growth

Massive eSports Revenue Numbers

Over the years, the eSports industry revenue has been on a wild roller coaster, but guess what? In the recent past, jaw-dropping improvements have been witnessed. Yeah, those bad days are about as distant as dial-up internet. These advancements surprised some folks. There were even a few close calls with spilled coffee in sheer shock. One area that’s been hit with an exhilarating surge is the revenue. This is massive growth, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. 

#9. The United States’ eSports market is projected to generate US$871.0m in 2023.

#10. As of 2023, the leading eSports nations are China, the United States, and South Korea.

#11. China’s eSports sector is expected to generate a whopping US$445.2 million in 2023.

#12. The South Korean eSports market is expected to generate $276.69 million in revenue in 2023.

#13. The global eSports industry is predicted to increase at a pace of 8.62% CAGR from 2023 to 2028. With a projected market volume of US$5.7 billion by that time. In 2023, the market might generate US$3.8 billion in revenue

The data collection and analysis companies did not just come up with all those figures overnight. They meticulously examined data from various eSports revenue streams, including sponsorships, merchandise and tickets, advertising, and media rights. And it’s fascinating to note that in 2021, most eSports market revenue flowed in from sponsorships and advertising. But after that, the revenue from media rights has been holding the second position. Here is the breakdown of global eSports revenue in 2022.

Revenue Stream2022
#14.Sponsorships and adsUS$837.3 million
#15.Media rightsUS$207.8 million
#16.Merchandise and ticketsUS$107.9 million
#17.StreamingUS$46.3 million

Comparisons with traditional sports revenue numbers

Don’t let the numbers deceive you. Despite the remarkable revenue strides in eSports, And the twists and turns of traditional sports during the pandemic. There’s still a substantial gap between their earnings now, post-pandemic.

#18. The global sports market rakes in an annual revenue ranging from $300 billion to $600 billion. In stark contrast, the global eSports market accounts for less than one percent of that colossal figure each year.

#19. eSports is set to skyrocket beyond $3 billion in the near future. It surpassed $1 billion in revenue in 2019.

#20. Yes, competitive gaming is rapidly growing. But there’s still a considerable distance to cover. In 2018, only one eSports company boasted a valuation exceeding $300 million. Fast forward to 2020, and four of the top 10 eSports companies were valued at over $300 million.

#21. Even while the number of viewers for eSports can match that of well-known professional leagues. The revenue side is still lagging behind.

High-earning eSports tournaments and franchises 

You know how it goes — when something becomes a big hit, events start popping up all over the globe. Take eSports this year, for example. As of September, “The International 2021” in Dota 2 stole the show with a mind-blowing prize pool of over US$40 million. That’s a serious upgrade from the previous edition in October 2022, which had a pool just shy of US$19 million. The excitement doesn’t stop there. As the year rolls on, this event keeps upping its game with even more cash up for grabs.

GamePrize pool
#22.Dota 2US$30.9 million
#23.FortniteUS$20.59 million
#24.Counter-StrikeUS$19.78 million
#25.Arena of ValorUS$19.64 million
#26.PUBG MobileUS$19.38 million
#27.Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six SiegeUS$9.2 million

Growth Drivers

You wouldn’t believe the number of causes propelling the eSports industry’s expansion. These include

  • the growing fan base
  • and audience demographics,
  • the explosive growth of the mobile eSports industry,
  • the ever-increasing investment from well-known firms and brands,
  • and the growing appeal of new gaming genres and titles.

#28. Tech companies account for over 70% of the investments or sponsorships in the eSports industry. Others are media companies, soft drink companies, and even sports franchises.

#29. Activision Blizzard Inc., known for hit titles such as Call of Duty, is a dominant force in the eSports industry. It commands approximately 21.85% of the industry

Check out the key players leading the pack in the eSports market:

CompanyMarket Share
Activision Blizzard Inc.21.85%
Modern Times Group MTG AB14.15%
Valve Corporation8.03%
Electronic Arts Inc.3.78%
Team SoloMid (TSM)2.1%
Take-Two Interactive1.87%
Riot Games1.4%

Player and Audience Insights

Earnings of top eSports players globally and by region

As you’re aware, in terms of overall earnings, N0tail from Denmark claimed the top spot in 2023. He is also known as Johan Sundstein.

#30. N0tail has accumulated a total of 7.18 million U.S. dollars over the course of his documented eSports gaming career.

#31. Following N0tail in earnings are players including JerAx, Ceb, Topson, Miposhka, and numerous others.

#32. US$156,348 is the average annual earnings of eSports players in the United States. of eSports players in the United States.

PlayerCountryTotal Winnings

#33. Professional eSports players dedicate numerous hours each day to refining their skills. This involves analyzing gameplay videos, studying strategies, and practicing specific in-game techniques. 

#34. eSports athletes frequently collaborate with coaches for valuable advice and guidance. They adhere to protocols for warming up and incorporating active breaks into their routines. All to prevent injury and improve performance.

Audience Engagement

Your favorite games, played by your go-to gamers, just keep showing their faces. It’s no surprise the audience is hooked. As of 2022, there were 532 million eSports enthusiasts worldwide.

#35. By 2025, over 640 million viewers worldwide are expected. The thrill of eSports just keeps on growing.

#36. In 2023, approximately 51% of eSports viewers are estimated to tune in through Twitch. This gives the platform the lead.

#37. Following the boss closely, YouTube captures about 31% of the market share.

#38. A global survey was conducted in September 2021 among eSports fans aged 18 to 24. Call of Duty emerged as the most popular game, captivating the interest of 44% of young adults.

#39. Dota 2 takes the top spot in eSports games with a prize pool exceeding US$40 million.

#40. The majority of eSports fans, accounting for over 60%, fall within the age range of 16 to 35.

#41. Throughout the entirety of 2022, Twitch maintained an average of 2.6 million concurrent viewers.

#42. The typical age of an eSports enthusiast is 26 years old.

#43. In 2022, viewers on Twitch collectively consumed more than 1.34 trillion minutes of videos on the platform.

#44. In a 2020 survey on gaming and eSports, 47% of Chinese participants indicated their involvement in eSports.

#45. Interestingly, the United Kingdom appeared at the lower end. Only six percent of survey participants involved themselves in eSports.

#46. In a separate survey. A notable 63.1% of fans under 17 in the United States reported an increased interest in eSports since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

#47. A substantial 41% of Twitch users fall within the age range of 16 to 24. The second-largest group comprises individuals aged 25 to 34, making up 32% of Twitch’s user base.

#48. 65% of Twitch users are male, leaving 35% as females. It seems the men are not smiling here.

Take a glance at a table ranking the top countries based on engagement rate in 2020:

CountryEngagement rate
Hong Kong25%
Saudi Arabia21%

Back to the study of the eSports market in the United States. The audience statistics tell a compelling story.

#49. According to Statista, just 9% of U.S. citizens are ardent eSports enthusiasts, with 19% categorized as casual fans. Surprisingly, 72% of survey respondents indicated they were not eSports fans.

#50. In 2023, the number of eSports viewers in the U.S. reached an estimated 45 million. 72% are males and 28% females.

Game-Specific Stats and Trends

Here’s just a sneak peek into the wealth of stats and trends in this section. If you’re eyeing investment opportunities, the eSports market is calling your name. You better begin making plans to invest in the eSports market. Just look at the numbers:

#51. Team Liquid, the Dutch powerhouse in eSports, dominates Dota 2 tournaments. They secure the top spot as the world’s leading professional eSports team, raking in a jaw-dropping total prize money of over US$44 million.

#52. Sasha Hostyn, known by her gaming alias Scarlett, has amassed a total earning of $423.94 thousand. This makes her the highest-earning female esports player globally.

#53. The 2021 Free Fire World Series, a showdown in Garena Free Fire, stole the spotlight as the most-watched eSports event ever. It hit an incredible peak of 5.41 million viewers. And not far behind was the 2020 League of Legends World Championship, with an impressive peak viewership of nearly 5.15 million. 

Check out the list of peak viewership for top eSports tournaments worldwide as of November 2022:

GamePeak Viewership (in millions)
Free Fire World Series 2021 Singapore5.41
League of Legends 2022 World Championship5.15
League of Legends 2021 World Championship4.02
League of Legends 2019 World Championship3.99
League of Legends 2020 World Championship3.88
PUBG Mobile Global Championship Season 03.83
Mobile Legends M3 World Championship 20213.19
Mobile Legends M2 World Championship 20213.08
Mobile Legends MPL ID Season 92.85
Mobile Legends MLBB Southeast Asia Cup 20222.82
CS:GO PGL Major Stockholm 20212.75
Dota 2 The International 20212.74
Free Fire Continental Series 2020 Asia2.57

Future of eSports

The future of eSports? You don’t want to miss this. The skyrocketing revenue. Game-changing tech upgrades for better experiences. A growing fanbase and more investments are pouring in. 

It’s not just hope; it’s pure excitement fueling the ride ahead.

Technological Advancements

AI is the most popular technology in eSports, which recently outshone VR and AR technologies’ popularity. Who saw that coming, right? AI has become a gaming industry VIP, weaving its magic alongside VR and AR in eSports. The beauty is that no one gets left behind; they’re all growing together.

Speaking of analyzing eSports tournaments, it’s all about making decisions backed by data. Because of AI-powered solutions, crunching those numbers becomes a streamlined process. Teams and players are jumping on board, actively using AI technology to fine-tune their game strategies.

And don’t forget VR and AR — they’re the social butterflies in the eSports community; they offer you unique interaction opportunities. Remember the days when you only stared at your favorite game (maybe The Elder Scrolls or Borderlands 3) on a screen? Well, VR and AR are changing the game, constantly upgrading for a better experience for you.

#54. A survey was conducted among video game developers. It revealed that an impressive 92% are incorporating AI systems into their projects

#55. This integration has led to a noteworthy 40% reduction in the time spent on video game development.

#56. The application of advanced AI in video games has further shown its magic. It enhances player engagement by a substantial 53%.

The last but not the least promising technologies in eSports are haptic feedback chairs. These bad boys are all about stepping up the immersive experience in gaming. Take the Razer Enki Pro HyperSense and Cooler Master’s Motion 1, for example. Using top-notch tech, they bring vibrations and textures to life. They make your gaming world feel insanely accurate. These chairs are the magical equipment for your gameplay. They let you feel every move — whether you’re riding on rough terrain or leaping over obstacles. As technology evolves, you can look forward to even more precise feedback, added comfort, and broader game integration. This will make eSports even more immersive and thrilling.

Expansion and Diversification

The eSports industry is on a marathon to growth, which has been mentioned a million times in this post. Think of it as a baby on a relentless journey to adulthood. The number of eSports enthusiasts is growing every day. There’s just something magnetic about competitive gaming. Fast forward to 2025, and the total audience is set to surpass a massive 640 million

#57. In developed countries, the primary eSports viewership demographic is the younger crowd, with 59% falling between the ages of 21 and 35.

Time to shift the gears. The idea of eSports at the Olympics has been sparking since 2017. It began when IOC (International Olympic Committee) officials first hinted at the possibility of including top eSports events in future Olympic Games. The truth is that making eSports an official Olympic event isn’t in the cards now. However, the Olympic Council of Asia is dropping hints that it could happen down the road. So much for you to look forward to.

On the Finish Line

Phew! Get it if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all those stats and mind-blowing figures — it’s a lot to take in. That was just a tiny chunk! If someone spilled the entire scoop, you’d be here till 2028. Now that you’ve got a taste, why not jump in? Whether you’re a company or an individual, it’s time to go deeper into eSports and snag your own slice of the excitement. The game is on, and there’s plenty of excitement to go around.