How the eSports Industry Fares Against Traditional Sports
In just a decade, electronic sports (eSports) has evolved from an underground culture into a mainstream industry worth billions of dollars today.
The industry is growing at an explosive rate, and with major tech giants like Amazon and Google vying for a piece of the pie, the future of this industry is an exciting one.
It’s no surprise that eSports is often compared to its predecessor, traditional sports. However, eSports certainly has none of the typical confines of a traditional sport—so how does it compare in terms of audience size, market potential, and revenue?
An Equal Playing Field?
eSports is an umbrella term for competitions played on electronic systems, typically by professional video gamers—with the first competition dating back to 1972.
The 16 to 24-year-old audience has increased by 60% since 2017, fueling the rapid growth of this emerging industry. The global audience is expected to grow to 276 million by 2022, with League of Legends tournaments often boasting a higher viewership than some of the biggest U.S. leagues:
Cumulative Viewership (2017 finals)
- NFL Super Bowl: 124 million viewers
- League of Legends: 58 million viewers
- MLB World Series: 38 million viewers
- NBA Finals: 32 million viewers
- NHL Stanley Cup Finals: 11 million viewers
While viewership can surpass that of well-known professional leagues, it doesn’t yet stack up in terms of monetization. That said, this aspect is now increasing enough to be seen as a threat to more traditional leagues.
How Much is eSports Worth?
According to Goldman Sachs, eSports will exceed $1 billion in revenue in 2019, and reach $3 billion by 2022. eSports creates the foundation for an entire ecosystem of opportunities, which include live-streaming, game development, player fanbases, and brand investments for sponsorship and advertising—where 82% of revenue currently comes from.
Although eSports under-indexes on monetization relative to the size of its audience, there is a huge opportunity for it to close the gap, given the predicted 35% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for total eSports revenue between 2017 and 2022.
Getting Attention from the World’s Biggest Players
The success of eSports tournaments is attributed to live-streaming platforms. Amazon’s purchase of leading video-streaming site, Twitch, allowed Amazon to tap into the rapidly growing eSports audience, along with other live-streaming opportunities. Since the acquisition in 2014, the number of average viewers has doubled to 15 million, half of YouTube’s daily viewership.
Google, which lost the bidding war for Twitch, has recently made its own big move into gaming with cloud gaming service Google Stadia. Ultimately, the company hopes it will help keep live-streamers on YouTube instead of competing platforms.
The Future of eSports
Over time, eSports will tap into bigger advertising budgets, and reach national, regional, and global levels, as traditional sports are able to. eSports will also be a medal event in the 2022 Asian Games, which could pave the way for full Olympic status.
As a whole, eSports is starting to seriously compete with the big leagues. With a massive worldwide appeal, passionate fans, and billion-dollar revenues, the industry is only beginning to take flight.
The debate however, is not around the battle between eSports and traditional sports. It is around the shift to celebrating a culture that is completely virtual, over one that is physical—which has much bigger implications.
Ranked: The World’s Largest Stadiums
The U.S. is known for its massive arenas, but in a top 10 ranking of the world’s largest stadiums, two other countries take the lead.
Ranking The World’s Largest Stadiums
From football games to live concerts, stadiums serve as a gathering place for some of life’s most exciting moments.
While some stadiums are famous for their history, others are truly massive in size, capable of seating over 100,000 people at once. In this graphic, we’ve ranked the 10 largest stadiums in the world by seating capacity, with Madison Square Garden included as a reference point.
Data and Highlights
As shown in the graphic above, the world’s largest stadium belongs to India. Named after the country’s Prime Minister, the Narendra Modi Stadium was designed to host cricket games.
See below for the full list in tabular format.
|1||Narendra Modi Stadium||🇮🇳 India||Ahmedabad||132,000|
|2||Rungrado 1st of May Stadium||🇰🇵 North Korea||Pyongyang||114,000|
|3||Michigan Stadium||🇺🇸 US||Ann Arbor, MI||107,601|
|4||Beaver Stadium||🇺🇸 US||State College, PA||106,572|
|5||Ohio Stadium||🇺🇸 US||Columbus, OH||102,780|
|6||Kyle Field||🇺🇸 US||College Station, TX||102,733|
|7||Neyland Stadium||🇺🇸 US||Knoxville, TN||102,455|
|8||Tiger Stadium||🇺🇸 US||Baton Rouge, LA||102,321|
|9||Darrell K Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium||🇺🇸 US||Austin, TX||100,119|
|10||Bryant-Denny Stadium||🇺🇸 US||Tuscaloosa, AL||100,077|
The number two spot is held by Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, which is surprisingly located in North Korea. It was completed in 1989 with the purpose of hosting the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students, and is now used to host various government events.
It’s interesting to note that this arena initially had a higher capacity of 150,000 people, but was reduced to 114,000 after renovations in 2014.
Looking further down the list, the third to tenth largest stadiums belong to the United States. All of these arenas are primarily used for college football, serving as the home field for their respective university team.
A shocking fact is that these arenas are significantly larger than NFL stadiums. For example, the largest NFL stadium is MetLife Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 82,500.
While just three countries are represented in the top 10 list, there is plenty of geographical diversity once we look a little further down. Shown below are the 11th to 14th largest stadiums in the world.
Camp Nou and FNB Stadium are two historic soccer stadiums which have both hosted a FIFA World Cup tournament. Camp Nou is owned by FC Barcelona, the world’s third most valuable soccer club.
New Administrative Capital Stadium is expected to replace the Cairo International Stadium as Egypt’s new national arena, and could be used to host the Olympics or a FIFA World Cup in the future if called upon.
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