Until COVID-19, Esports was already on its way to being a multibillion dollar industry and the sports shutdown triggered by the COVID-19 virus acted as a catalyst to lift it even higher.
Many competitive eSports leagues have seen substantial growths across both activity and viewership, especially compared to last year, and Betcris has been proactive in responding to the growing trend, continuously offering new options. It has put up more than triple the amount of leagues and events coverage including adding live streams of some activity and more lines.
Operating chief Officer Betcris Oscar Brenes explained: “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has been one of the biggest winners in the eSports industry, seeing an increase in volume of around 700%. Close behind is Dota 2, which has witnessed a 600% increase, and League of Legends with a 350% improvement.
“We have seen an increase of 15% in betting on the different options, while still receiving sports gamblers attracted to other alternatives, such as horse racing, which is around 20% of our volume.”
There has been a large rise in eSports audiences since 2016-including casual watchers and devoted fans. Between 2016 and 2017, there was an increase of 19.3 percent; there were 192 million casual viewers and 143 million followers in 2017, making a total of around 335 million. In 2018, the growth rate declined slightly by 13.8 percent year-over-year, but still showed improvement. There were 215 million part-time viewers and 165 million fans that year, taking this number to 380 million.
By 2021, Newzoo estimates that the annual pace of growth will be about 14 percent. I also expect the overall casual viewership to rise to 307 million. There will also be 250 million devoted eSports fans out there, for a total of 557 million.
The rise has also contributed to an increase in awarded prize pools. Some big tournaments are offering multimillion-dollar prizes, including the $25 million for The International at Dota 2. Analysts expect that tournament prize money will continue to grow, seeing an annual 42 percent leap that attracts further betting activity as well.