Esports is a relatively new phenomenon that already managed to attract a great deal of attention and grow into a separate industry. Perhaps most of our readers know that the term eSports refers to competitive video gaming. According to Insider Intelligence’s forecasts, eSports viewership is to escalate from 454 million in 2019 to 646 million in 2023. Based on the most recent data, the global eSports market was valued at over $1 billion.
Competitive video gaming came into the horizon in the 1970s, when the first video game competition was held at Stanford University. Back then, the games’ quality was not as crystal-clear as nowadays and only a few video games existed. The rise of the eSports betting industry was mainly prompted by the advent of technologies. New games with better quality were introduced to the eSports community. This is among the primary reasons for the explosive growth of eSports.
eSports and the Law
A curious fact is that South Korea was the first country to regulate competitive video gaming. Some of the most prominent professional video game players come from South Korea. When it comes to the legality of eSports, we cannot give a straightforward answer as each country has a different stance on the matter.
The main problem associated with the regulation of eSports stems from the fact that video games are intellectual properties of their developers. Other legal aspects of eSports include sponsorship, rights of publicity, rights to hold a live event, advertising, gambling regulation, and others.
The countries in which betting on eSports is legal are the UK, New Zealand, Australia, China, Spain, South Korea, and Japan. In the USA, the situation is more complex as gambling is regulated on a federal and state level. In other words, each state has the right to decide whether to regulate eSports gambling or not. Nevada, New Jersey, Tennessee, and West Virginia are the states in which eSports gambling is on the right side of the law.
A Brief Look Inside the eSports Ecosystem
People who love betting on video games are unlikely to have ever thought of the complex ecosystem behind the seemingly simple term eSports. But eSports are composed of several segments that interact with each other.
The first segment, and probably the most important, is the game developers who are responsible for creating the video games. Some of them broadcast the competitions on their own, while others sign contracts with league organizers and streaming platforms.
The second segment is the players and the teams. Video gaming competitions would not be possible without them. Aiming at attracting sponsors, professional players often provide advertising space on their streams for teams and brands. The third segment within the eSports ecosystem is the league organizers. Their task is to plan, organize, and ensure coverage of a given event. The next important segment is the audience.
At the moment, eSports fans do not have to pay subscription fees to watch video gaming competitions. On the other hand, streaming platforms interested in covering a given event have to buy rights to broadcast it.
According to a report published by the experts from Sporting Pedia, sponsorships and media rights are the two segments expected to generate the lion’s share of the revenue, and namely a total of over $740 million. Publisher fees is the third big segment, projected to generate $108 million. Merchandise and tickets are expected to accrue $52 million in revenue, followed by the digital and streaming segments projected to accumulate $21 million and $19 million, respectively.
Top eSports Countries by Earnings and Active Players
The information we will include in this section covers the year 2020. The country with the most active players and the highest earnings from eSports is the United States. According to reliable sources, the total amount of profits generated by competitive video gaming in the US is over $21 million. The land of opportunity is closely followed by China which registered nearly $17 million from eSports activities.
South Korea is in third place. According to estimates, South Korea’s professional eSports players pocketed over $9 million. France is the fourth country on the list, with nearly $4.5 million in prize money won. The last country that managed to enter the list of the top 5 countries is Russia. Its eSports professional players managed to win nearly $4.3 million. Brazil, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, and Canada are the other countries with significant earnings from eSports competitions.
The Future for eSports is Bright
It is not a secret that competitive video gaming has great potential and it attracts the attention of a growing number of people. Many countries are expected to regulate eSports to boost their economies. New high-quality games will appear on the market to further push eSports’ continued growth. Interestingly, some of the most popular video games at the moment include Dota 2, Fortnite, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Call of Duty.