The restraints on sports bodies to hold physical events in the post COVID have started newer trends. As we are finding virtual alternatives to everything, sports have also found their alternative in e-sports. It is only in recent times that e-sports have emerged from the shadow of physical sports.
E-sports enthusiasts predict a bright future for the lesser-known segment. The prospects of e-sports look rosy, with the facts backing them up. According to reports, 2019 was a landmark year of growth for the e-sports segment. In 2019, revenues of the global e-sports sector went past the $1billion mark.
The effect of COVID 19 pandemic on E-sports
The e-sports segment has only received a boost due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The pandemic stunted the growth of specific industries, but the global e-sports sector was not one of them. If virtual reality was a relatively obscure technology before 2020, the pandemic was a catalyst that complemented its evolution. The applications of virtual reality branched out to touch different areas of our lives. One of the areas enhanced by virtual reality is e-sports.
People started searching for alternatives to the physical viewership of sports. Virtual reality and online streaming of sports events stepped in to fill the void left by physical viewership. The online viewership of sports events increased to a level that the international sports bodies could upgrade conventional sports arenas into the virtual sports arena. Virtual sports arena can help safeguard the health of sportspersons while creating an augmented experience of playing sports.
Apart from the virtual face of conventional sports, e-sports include the online gaming industry. Once seen as a childish leisure activity, the online gaming industry is a multibillion-dollar industry today. The COVID 19 lockdown was a substantial contributing factor in the growth of the online gaming and e-sports sector.
How the lockdown helped E-sports grow
The lockdown made us retreat into the haven of our homes. With outside activity reaching an all-time low, people started turning to home entertainment and online gaming apps. From immersive video games to mobile gaming apps, e-sports became a universal mode of entertainment. E-sports not only acted as a source of entertainment, but it also formed a close-knit gaming community. During the pandemic, when people were grappling with reality, e-sports helped them connect and find a break from social isolation.
As the popularity of e-sports increased, the global audience for e-sports and online gaming touched 500 million in 2020. The global viewership for e-sports will be crossing the 600 million mark by 2023.
International recognition for E-sports
The popularity of e-sports is on par with physical sports today. The most glaring proof of this phenomenon shows in the inclusion of e-sports in global sports competitions. E-sports are gaining recognition from the International Olympic Committee. With the Tokyo Olympics on the horizon, there are speculations that the itinerary may include an e-sport event. Even though e-sport is far from becoming a medal sport at the Olympics, e-sports enthusiasts are hopeful that it will be a reality someday. 2019 was the first time e-sports were included as medal sports in an international sports event.
E-sports were included as a cultural programme in the 2019 European games. Although it was a great initiative to recognize the e-sports sector, e-sports enthusiasts were disheartened by its exclusion from the sports category. Now there are speculations that the 2024 Paris Olympics will include e-sports in some way.
From then to now, international e-sports events are gaining popularity. With the parity between physical and online sports increasing, gaming has become a popular profession for youngsters.
Scoring a great finish
Market leaders predict a CAGR of 20% for the e-sports segment for the next five years. This spells a growth period for e-sports and its associated segments. With the rise in e-sports industry revenue, the associated online gambling platforms will clock in proportional growth in the coming years.
Earlier online casinos saw e-sports as a competitor segment. However, e-sports provide an excellent opportunity for higher profits for online gambling platforms. The massive viewership of e-sports events is a golden opportunity to integrate e-sports and online gambling.
E-sports arenas are collaborating with online casino platforms like CasinoSelect Ireland to provide the online betting experience to viewers. Online gambling and the e-sports sector can create a co-existential relationship that promises high growth prospects.