Esports Forecasted To Top $200 Million In Ad Revenues In 2020

How big of a market, an opportunity, do esports represent? In eMarketer’s first forecast of the category, esports ad revenues for the U.S. next year are expected to top $200 million. This year, digital ad revenues for esports—competitive gaming by professional players and teams—is expected to grow 25 percent to $178.1 million.

“Esports was once an under-the-radar activity for enthusiasts of multiplayer online games,” eMarketer principal analyst Paul Verna says. “Just a few years later, it’s a multimillion-dollar business in the U.S., with implications for game developers, players, leagues, teams, live venues, streaming platforms, TV networks, audiences and marketers.”

Audiences, and thus public awareness, for esports are also growing. In 2019, 30.3 million people in the U.S. are expected to watch esports at least once a month, an 18 percent increase over 2018. eMarketer predicts audiences will grow by 50 percent between now and 2023 and reach 46.2 million. Audience age and demographics vary by game and tournament, but Millennials are typically the most active members of the esports audience.

“Esports fans have unique characteristics that make them more elusive but potentially more lucrative for marketers,” Verna adds. “They are typically young, TV-averse Millennials who have higher-than-average disposable income. They are open to marketing messages that are embedded in the esports experience, whether those are sponsorships, branded videos, in-game integrations, influencer-driven endorsements or even traditional ads.”

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