3 MAY 2022

Global esports audience to reach 532 million in 2022

In 2022, the global esports audience will grow +8.7% year on year to reach 532 million, according to Newzoo’s “2022 Global Esports and Live Streaming Market Report.”

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In 2022, the global esports audience will grow +8.7% year on year to reach 532 million, according to Newzoo’s “2022 Global Esports and Live Streaming Market Report.” Furthermore, the esports enthusiast group will account for just above 261 million, while occasional viewers will account for the remaining 271 million. The number of esports enthusiasts will grow to 318 million with a CAGR of +8.1% between 2020 and 2025, when the total audience will surpass 640 million.

Financially speaking, the esports segment is on track to generate nearly US$1.38 billion in revenues by the end of 2022, up from 2021’s $1.11 billion (year-on-year growth of +16.4%). China will generate nearly a third of worldwide esports revenues. Southeast Asia, Central Southern Asia, and Latin America are the fastest-growing regions with 2020-2025 CAGRs of +27.6%, +23.4%, and +19%, respectively. Moreover, global revenues will exceed $1.86 billion by 2025, representing a healthy CAGR of +13.4%.

Meanwhile, the games live-streaming audience will grow by +13.8% year on year to reach 921.2 million globally in 2022. The audience will cross the billion mark by 2023 and increase with a CAGR of +16.3% from 2020 to reach 1.4 billion in 2025. The lingering effects of the pandemic in 2021 caused the audience to grow beyond Newzoo’s initial expectations.

Geographically speaking, growth markets in Latin America, the Middle East and Northern Africa, and Southeast Asia will retain high growth rates throughout 2025, boosted by the increasing popularity of mobile titles on live-streaming platforms. China remains the world’s largest market in terms of live-streaming audience, and it will grow with a CAGR of +7.6% from 2020 to reach 267.5 million in 2025.

●  REVENUE STREAMS

Sponsorship revenues have been the foundation on which the esports market was built, so it is no surprise that it continues to be the highest-grossing revenue stream, generating US$837.3 million in 2022, or nearly 60% of the entire market. Blockchain companies are boosting sponsorship growth in esports by investing high figures into teams and tournaments to reach the esports audience.

Digital and streaming are the two fastest-growing revenue streams for esports, with 2020-2025 CAGRs of +27.2% and +24.8%, respectively. The increasing awareness of digital assets that came with NFTs is likely to boost investment and fan interest in acquiring in-game items of esports IP. According to Newzoo, streaming is increasingly becoming a greater part of brand strategy.

The report also found that more than 84% of users active in non-gaming categories are also active on gaming channels, which means that non-gaming content does not necessarily cannibalize gaming content on these platforms. "This is an opportunity for brands that are more familiar with non-gaming content to engage with live-streaming gaming audiences,"  the report says.

At the same time, the study revealed that co-streaming is increasingly becoming part of brands’ strategy to provide non-gaming content to the gaming community. Recently, Netflix, the NBA, and Formula 1 have partnered with streamers to expand their distribution channels for content among gamers.