Why is eSports the fastest growing sport?

eSports fan cheering an eSports team

If you’re an avid gamer, then you’re probably already very familiar with the world of eSports.

Here at twofour54, we were pretty quick to recognise the potential of this vibrant sector. Not only are we the first free zone in the GCC to offer a dedicated eSports licence, but the Yas Creative Hub, our new home, contains state-of-the-art facilities that eSports organizers, programmers and gamers on Yas island need to thrive in their chosen gaming career.

Abu Dhabi Gaming Hub is already home over 25 new innovative gaming and eSports businesses, and we predict that this number will continue to grow rapidly throughout the coming years.

So, we’d like to use this blog to introduce you to the magical realm of eSports and explain why it is one of the fastest growing sports.

What is eSports?

Newzoo, the world’s leading provider of games and esports analytics, defines eSports as being “professional or semi-professional competitive gaming in an organised format (tournament or league) with a specific goal/prize, such as winning a championship title or prize money).”

So, in a nutshell, eSports are played in individual or team competitions with professional players, and live streamed across the globe. Until the 2000s, video game tournaments were mainly played by amateurs, but by the 2010s eSports introduced the world to professional competitions and live streamed them across the globe on platforms such as Twitch, YouTube and Facebook.

Why is it so popular?

The eSports industry has grown tremendously in recent years, both in terms of how many people watch it, and how much money it makes.

Competitive gaming now has millions of fans and billions of dollars is given away in prize money every year.

Of course, the pandemic did momentarily limit the number of live, large-scale eSports events that could take place, but this hasn’t stopped it experiencing a surge in popularity.

One reason why it has become so much more popular is because eSports is now incredibly accessible. As mentioned above, YouTube, Twitch, Facebook and other online platforms can be used to broadcast live coverage for free, and fans are also able to interact with their favourite players on these platforms too.

Plus, as more and more people have started watching eSports, brands have started to realise the real value of eSports marketing. Brands are now able to broadcast their products to vast audiences across the globe by advertising on eSports tournaments, and even some players are sponsored and endorsed by different companies.

Video game producers can also make a lot of money. For instance, eSports creator EA Madden Franchise has sold more than 130 million units since it launched over 30 years ago, generating more than $4 billion in revenue.

According to Newzoo, the global esports industry was valued at more than one billion US dollars in 2021, 50% higher than it was in 2020. Even more incredible is the fact that the global eSports industry is predicted to reach a value of 1.64 billion dollars by 2024.

How much can eSports gamers earn?

Seeing as how the value of the industry as a whole has risen so dramatically, it might not come as a surprise to learn that the top eSports players can earn up to seven-figure sums a year. However, the pandemic did result in a slight drop in player earnings.

Statistics from Newzoo  show that in 2019 the total prize money for the year’s eSports tournaments was $236,221,114, and this then fell to $119,457,468 in 2020. However, last year/s figures prove that the industry is already bouncing back, with the median earnings per player already back up to above what they were in 2019.

Many colleges in America now also offer eSports programmes, while twofour54 has partnered with Unity Technologies to offer courses in gaming at some of the UAE’s most well-respected educational institutions. This includes:

  • Abu Dhabi University
  • NYU Abu Dhabi
  • Higher Colleges of Technology
  • University of Sharjah

What is the most played eSport?

Part of the appeal of eSports is that the professional players play the same games that the fans do at home.

Some video game genres most associated with eSports include multiplayer online battle arena, first-person shooter, fighting, card, battle royale and real-time strategy (RTS) games.

The most popular games include:

  • Dota 2
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Fortnite
  • League of Legends
  • StarCraft II
  • Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)
  • Overwatch
  • Hearthstone

While the most famous tournaments include:

  • League of Legends World Championship
  • Dota 2’s International
  • Evolution Championship Series
  • Intel Extreme Masters

As you can see, the world of eSports is extremely exciting and it has so much to offer for both players, fans and video game producers. To find out more about getting an eSports freelance or business licence with twofour54 and MZA.

Why is eSports the fastest growing sport?
Why is eSports the fastest growing sport?
eSports are played in individual or team competitions with professional players, and live streamed across the globe.