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Electronic sports, eSports, is often compared to traditional sports in terms of audience size, market potential, and revenue. But it certainly has none of the typical features of a traditional sport. Only one decade ago, eSports was an underground culture that has rapidly evolved to became a mainstream industry worth billions of dollars. Today eSports have their own competitions and important events that we will also be able to enjoy in 2021.
And this newest industry keeps on growing at an explosive rate and with a brilliant future ahead. That is why the tech giants Google and Amazon are greedy to have also their piece of the pie.
According to the Global Esports Market Report 2020 by Newzoo, eSports profits have been 1.1 billion dollars in 2020. This, compared with the 950 million dollars generated in 2019, shows a growth of 15.7%. And the expectations are to reach nearly 1.6 billion by 2023.
Pandemic Effects on eSports
In 2020, the eSports industry has become even more relevant than ever with the pandemic. Despite the crisis, it kept on generating millions of dollars and gaining new followers and fans.
With home confinement worldwide and the population having more free time in their lives, eSports and gaming have increased the number of followers and consequently growing even more in popularity. So it is a fact that eSports are the big winners of the quarantine.
At a competitive level, eSports are now events that attract thousands of followers around the world, both in stadiums and through streaming.
The Power of eSports
Needless to say that the success of eSports tournaments is attributed to live-streaming platforms. And that is why the Big Two in tech can not be out of the party and have managed to create their own streaming platforms. Amazon owns the leading video-streaming site, Twitch, and Google has its own cloud gaming service, Google Stadia.
Thanks to the incessant advancements in technology, competitions today are not confined to just an arcade but are taking place at International levels. And the growing fan following all across the world are able to stream these big events. They watch their favorite teams play from the comfort of their homes. But they can also do it from anywhere they are, as long as they have any mobile device.
As an example of the reach eSports has, we mention that in 2018, the audience of the League of Legends World Championship final was more than 200 million people. That same year, the Super Bowl, which is the most-watched sporting event in the world, was watched by 103 million people.
This indicates the power of attracting diverse audiences eSports have that also includes potential bettors.
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Most Relevant eSports events in 2021
These are the eSports events of 2021 that you can not miss, whether you are a player or a fan:
- ESL Pro Tour 2020/21 StarCraft II: With different circuits all over the world.
- League of Legends World Championship 2021: Finals will be in Shenzhen, China.
- FIFA eWorld Cup 2021: This year with a record number of over 480 teams participating worldwide.
- DOTA 2′s from The International 2021: This time with a prize pool of up to $40 million.
- EVO Champions 2021: The largest fighting game community returns this year after its cancellation in 2020 due to the Evo co-founder´s scandal.
The Future Ahead
No one expected a decade ago this incredible steep growth of online competitive gaming. Today, eSports have even taken over traditional big sporting events, starting to seriously compete with the big leagues worldwide.
However, the big leagues are evolving and adapting to the eSports era too. An example is the National Football League, which together with Electronic Arts, and the NFL Players Association, will work to create more video game titles. In August 2020 they released Madden NFL, which is already the most successful video game in NFL history. In the meanwhile, the fandom of this league is growing by leaps and bounds.
Surely, the future looks bright for this industry, making the world questioning if eSports will replace its “predecessor”, the traditional sports.