Esports has experienced a meteoric rise in recent years, transforming the landscape of entertainment and capturing the attention of millions worldwide. From professional players earning substantial salaries to traditional sports teams investing in esports franchises, gaming has evolved into a legitimate and lucrative form of competition.

Esports Tournaments: Attracting Massive Audiences and Revenue

Esports events now draw large audiences, with major tournaments boasting millions of viewers and generating significant revenue. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this growth, as people increasingly turn to online entertainment in the absence of traditional sports and live events. As a result, clubs like FC Schalke 04 have recognized the potential of esports, becoming the first German soccer club to field a League of Legends team and tapping into a younger, more digitally-savvy audience.

Professional Esports Players: Earning Big and Gaining Recognition

With the rise of esports, professional gamers can now earn impressive salaries and secure lucrative sponsorships, rivaling the earnings of traditional athletes. Schalke’s League of Legends team, for example, launched in 2016 and spent three years working toward promotion before reaching the prestigious LEC in 2019. Despite selling their LEC franchised spot in 2022 due to financial difficulties, Schalke continues to compete in the Prime League, demonstrating the resilience and determination of esports athletes.

Mainstream Acceptance: Esports Gaining Traction in the World of Sports

As esports continues to grow in popularity, it is becoming more widely recognized as a legitimate form of competition. Traditional sports organizations are increasingly investing in esports teams and events, further solidifying their place in the world of entertainment. The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s PlayFronts, for example, has seen publishers, platforms, and brands come together to discuss the power of video games as a marketing tool, highlighting the industry’s growing influence.

Future Outlook: Esports Set to Continue its Upward Trajectory

As the esports industry continues to evolve, it is expected to maintain its upward trajectory, with mobile gaming and virtual reality poised for further expansion. However, challenges remain, such as convincing marketers to invest in gaming and overcoming misperceptions about the gaming audience. Nonetheless, companies like Coty, a beauty marketer, have begun to explore the gaming space, signaling a shift in consumer preferences and the potential for even greater growth in the future.