Rapid Growth in eSports Market
According to eSports analytics company Newzoo, global eSports revenue will surpass $1 billion in 2021, on the back of a year where in-person eSports events were brought to a halt. Some analysts predict this market to reach the $2.5 billion by 2025 driven by high investments, revenue source evolution & increasing viewership.2 Globally, Newzoo estimated that nearly half a billion viewers consumed eSports in 2020, a nearly 12% growth from the year before.3
Creating products specific to gamers represents an attractive opportunity for manufacturers of foods, beverages, and nutritional supplements to engage with the eSports market in a way that provides real value and extends beyond event sponsorship.
In addition, gamers are valuable as influencers on social media in a variety of categories, including foods and beverages. The eSports & gaming consumer is a high value target for brands looking to promote a premium food or beverage offering. According to Newzoo, 80% of gamers regularly eat or drink while playing.4 Additionally, North American eSports & gamer are also more likely to have a positive brand attitude towards beverage brands targeting the market including Monster, Coca-Cola and Mountain Dew.5 When it comes to energy drinks, India & China take the lead in consumption while gaming. The same research found 38% of Indian gamers and 26% of Chinese gamers consume energy drinks while playing.6
While the “core gamer” is likely cast as young and male, the overall gamer category has grown quite diverse as video games have become a mainstream pastime. According to the Entertainment Software Association, the average age range of U.S. gamers is 35-44 years old.7 In a recent survey conducted by Glanbia Nutritionals, we found 49% of U.S. gamers are female.8 The vast majority, 65% of U.S. gamers, play with others and the average adult video game player (pre-pandemic) spent 6.6 hours a week playing with others online.9
The Top eSports Events You Should Know About
Over the past decade, a brand new type of sports event has emerged—the eSports tournament. Regional and international competitions exist for the most popular video games, complete with professional gamers, sponsors, merchandise, and audiences that fill stadiums to watch on the big screen as teams compete for big prize money. Some of the top eSports events to look forward to in 2021 are:10
Riot Games’ League of Legends World Championship (known as Worlds) is held in a different region each year. This year, information on the event is limited. However, Worlds moved online in 2020. Peak viewership hit 3.8 million people, with an average of 1.1 million viewers throughout the 126 hours of airtime. Even online, peak viewership of nearly 4 million and average viewership increased from the previous year. Live streaming by League of Legends players on Twitch was instrumental in expanding the game’s popularity.
Fortnite World Cup 2021
Cancelled in 2020 after setting the bar for the largest prize pool ($30 million) of any eSport competition ever a year earlier, Epic Games, the game’s developer, is expected to re-introduce the tournament. Fortnite’s cross-region online structure makes it difficult to hold without an in-person event, but analysts hope the World Cup will return. Fortnite dominates live streaming platforms like Twitch. In May 2020 there were over 350 million users, up 100 million from the year before.11
The International 2021
The International is the global eSports competition for DOTA 2, organized by its developer Valve Corporation. The 2020 event was delayed until August 2021 and is touting an over $40m prize pool, the largest ever, if the event goes ahead.