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Esports Audience Growth and The Future

+15% year over year growth in viewership. Around 200 million esports enthusiasts and 253 million occasional viewers are now watching esports! Take a look at the titles attracting the biggest audience.

Esports Viewership is on the Rise

In 2016, the esports industry did not have anywhere near the number of viewers it has today. Esports viewership in 2016 was around 281 million. 121 million of these viewers were labelled esports enthusiasts i.e., people who watch esports events regularly.

Fast-forward to 2019 – the industry has shown a +15% year over year growth in viewership. Around 200 million esports enthusiasts and roughly 253 million occasional viewers are watching esports today! 

Projections for 2020 show a slight slowdown in year over year growth (+14%), but overall viewership numbers will be up close to 650 million! 

The Asia-Pacific region is projected to account for roughly 57% of the growth for esports enthusiasts in 2019 (see pie chart). A big portion of this will be from League of Legends viewership numbers, but you will still see increased numbers for both Overwatch and PUBG. 

Newzoo: Esports Audience Numbers (2017-2022)

Most Popular Esports Titles in 2019

Dota 2

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Defense of the Ancients, more commonly known as Dota 2, is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA ) developed by Valve and released in July 2013. It has quickly risen to the top of the esports food chain, mostly thanks to its spectacular crowd-funded event, The International.

The International is held once per year, bringing together incredible prize pools and viewership numbers. This year, it featured close to $35 million in prizes, with viewership exceeding 1.1 million.

Ironically, Dota 2 isn’t even the most popular MOBA title out there.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) doesn’t have a massive annual event that attracts big prize money.  Instead, it has numerous top-tier events, including the CS:GO Major Championships, scattered throughout the whole year.

Some of the most viewed CS:GO events are as follows:

  • ELEAGUE Major 2017 – 1.3 million peak viewers
  • ELEAGUE Major 2018 – 1.3 million peak viewers
  • IEM Katowice Major 2019 – 1.2 million peak viewers

More detailed statistics are available here

League of Legends

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League of Legends, is the world’s most popular MOBA game. It is made by Riot Games and captivates millions of fans worldwide. The game’s biggest lastest annual event, The League of Legends World Championship, featured $2,225,000 in prize money. The event had close to 4 million peak viewers and a total of 137.8 million hours watched. 

Both stats were record-breaking, further entrenching League of Legends as the most popular esports franchise – (take that Fortnite)!

It is no surprise that investments in the esports industry are snowballing

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