Market research specialist Newzoo has predicted that global eSports revenues will climb 30 per cent to $250m in 2015.
This number includes “sponsorships, online advertising, media rights, consumer spending on (digital) merchandise and tickets as well as additional publisher investment still required to keep the eSports economy break-even”.
North America remains the largest contributor, generating $93.2m and accounting for 37 per cent. Asia-Pacific is next up at $85.2m, with China as the single largest contributor ($36.7m).
However, Newzoo says that the South Korean eSports market is in “crisis” due to a combination of new legislation and an ongoing dispute between Blizzard and the Korean Esports Association.
A big part of this overall growth is down to the annual increase in eSports viewers. In the US those who watch eSports in any capacity will climb 21 per cent year-on-year, while enthusiast viewers will increase by 37 per cent. General eSports awareness should jump 16 per cent.
Globally, in the past year enthusiast viewers have shot up by 31 per cent although there has been a slight decline in occasional viewers.
By the end of the year Newzoo reckons there will be 113m eSports enthusiasts around the world, with an additional 147m people watching occasionally.
Prize money for participants for the first five months of the year is more sharply up, rocketing 97 per cent to $15.7m. The overall 2015 prize pool is likely to hit $71m, up from 2014’s $36m.