We’re pleased to announce that we have officially launched our 2021 Global Esports and Live-Streaming Market Report. That’s right: we’re not just predominantly covering esports anymore.
In addition to our usual coverage of the global and regional esports economy, we’re also looking more deeply at the general game-related live-streaming space.
The full report offers a realistic estimate of both markets’ current and future performance regarding audience numbers, key trends, and franchises—as well as esports’ revenue streams. We also profile key influencers and offer esports advice for key stakeholders looking to enter esports or bolster their strategies.
In this article, we’ll present some key findings from the report.
Streaming Audience Numbers On Track for Massive Growth This Year and Beyond
Last year, the pandemic disrupted the esports and live-streaming markets alike. On the live-streaming side, lockdown measures resulted in spiking viewership across all platforms. More consumers were—and still are—confined to their homes, driving them to spend more time on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Huya.
The global games live-streaming audience will reach 728.8 million by the end of 2021, a +10% increase over 2020’s audience number. The pandemic has certainly accelerated—and will continue to accelerate—the live streaming audience, but we expect stabilization once the pandemic subsides.
To that end, audience growth rates will progressively return to their more natural levels by 2024, when the live-streaming audience total will hit 920.3 million. Nevertheless, emerging markets and regions will stay on their path of double-digit growth.
This growth will also be driven by mobile gaming’s popularity in Latin America, the Middle-East and Africa, Central Southern Asia, and Southeast Asia. Countries in these regions (especially China) are pushing the streaming audience ever-closer toward the one-billion mark—a feat that seemed unfathomable even five years ago.
Speaking of China, the country’s streaming ecosystem is vastly different from the West’s. Luckily, you can discover a special-focus topic on the Chinese streaming market in the full report.
Esports Is Also On Track for Healthy Audience Growth
The global esports audience will grow to 474.0 million in 2021, a year-on-year growth of +8.7%. Esports enthusiasts—those who watch more than once a month—will account for just under half of this number (234 million), also growing +8.7% year on year.
As you can see in the image above, the global esports audience will continue to grow with a CAGR of +7.7% to 577.2 million in 2024. While we’ve reserved the 2022 and 2023 numbers for report subscribers, we will say that the market will pass the half-a-billion mark in 2022.
Like in the steaming ecosystem, growth markets will drive much (but not all) of esports’ future audience growth. Ongoing infrastructure developments are continuing to empower residents in these areas. Another factor in the strong audience growth is mobile, which has now entered the upper echelon of the esports market—a trend we dive deep on in the full report.
As Always, Engagements Will Translate Into More Revenues in the Esports Market
As ever and despite pandemic-related challenges, the growing esports audience and engagement will trickle into increased spending. Global esports revenues will hit just shy of $1.1 billion by the end of 2021, a year-on-year growth of +14.5% 2020’s from $947.1 million.
In 2021, $833.6 million in revenues—over three-quarters of the total market—will come from media rights and sponsorship.
The instability caused by the pandemic, however, has negatively impacted some key esports revenue streams. The cancelation of in-person events diminished ticket revenues while also having a knock-on effect on merchandise across the board.
Nevertheless, the pandemic has undoubtedly underlined the resilience of regional ecosystems for the wider market, which may shift strategies and ensure a more secure esports market for the future. What’s more, team organizations are beginning to diversify more, which may also foster a more stable market for the years to come.
For further data and insights, check out the press copy of Newzoo’s 2021 Global Esports & Live Streaming Market Report.
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