Many think that eSports are a niche thing, instead, the numbers show that they now generate the same interest as sporting events. The confirmation comes from League of Legends, the number 1 eSports in the world.
Think that in 2019 the finals of the League of Legends world championship held in South Korea and obviously organized by Riot Games had almost 100 million unique spectators who tuned in online to attend the event. Monstrous numbers! Just think that the NFL Super Bowl, the sporting event that records the largest television audience every year, in 2019, had a total of 98 million spectators. The previous year the number was 103 million. As you can see practically the same numbers as in the League of Legends World Cup final.
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Can we still call eSports a niche event? Obviously not. Not only. Before it was thought that eSports were only an Asian passion, perhaps a few years ago it was like that but now, eSports have become world-class. Just think that in 2019, over a third of the eSports market’s revenue was generated in North America.
These are different numbers than the World Cup, but the North American League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split had over 10,000 fans in the 2019 arena plus 600,000 simultaneous spectators on Twitch and YouTube during the final match, which saw the eSport Team Liquid (company in which Michael Jordan invested) take home the title after more than four hours of competitive play.
The US market is definitely a key market for eSports so starting in 2018, Riot has implemented a franchise structure for the North American championship, led by the company’s esports head in North America Chris Hopper “There is certainly a lot of interest around to almost all esports properties right now, and we’re doing a lot of work figuring out which opportunities make the most sense for us and our fans too, ”said Hopper. “We want to make sure that any partnership with the brand is one that we are not only proud to bring to our audience, but can deliver value directly to those fans themselves.”
Over a third of eSports’ estimated $ 1 billion revenue stream comes from sponsorship deals, which have also been a big driver for “League of Legends”. Riot Games has entered into a partnership with Mastercard which became the global sponsor last year and Riot’s Chinese LPL league has signed a partnership agreement with Nike.
“We are thinking about how to build our competitive pipeline beyond the [League Championship Series],” he said. “As a child, I had countless leagues and clubs to play football, basketball or baseball, and we think our work in building college competitions and scholarship offers, as well as our partnership with PlayVS to make League of Legends an Official high school sport, will pay big dividends in the future ”.
In short, the future of eSports is bright, that of traditional sports, a little less…