A new report from Foley & Lardner LLP, Sports Business Journal, and The Esports Observer, has projected esports revenues will surpass USD$1.8 billion (AUD$2.5 billion) in 2022.
The survey from the organisations revealed nearly 9 out of 10 esports professionals expect esports investment and deal activity to increase in the first six months of 2022, with the figure rising 15% from the 2020 survey.
The survey got responses from 430 esports professionals and predicts the investment in esports to increase due to increased private funding and the continued growth of online streaming platforms, as well as the COVID-19 friction at life events continuing to boost engagement on digital and the increased attention on esports from national sports networks.
The report suggested esports audience size for both esports enthusiasts and occasional viewers will increase from 234 million to 287.5 million and from 240 million to 291.6 million, respectively, by 2024.
Notably, 72% of respondents agreed esports needs a single overarching governing body for regulation and rule setting, with the International Esports Federation, the Asian Electronic Sports Federation, the Global Esports Federation, and the World Esports Association, all currently competing for overarching authority.
Foley Sports & Entertainment Group special adviser, Bobby Sharma, said despite the optimism of the growth of the esports industry, the esports industry hasn’t converted the growth into equal monetisation.
“The perception continues to be there must be more ways to make money out of a continually growing esports audience of this magnitude, globality, and appealing demographics,” Sharma said.
“But it’s more than just hope, it’s a very logical progression.
“We just haven’t seen it fully bear out yet…
“What we’re seeing may be a recognition that esports is complex, a different and, in some ways, more complicated ecosystem than traditional sports.
“As such, it’s taken some time, but the primary investment vehicles in the space have begun to develop a very specific level of expertise and portfolio, and it seems the marketplace may now be recognising and understanding that better,” he said.
Foley Sports & Entertainment Group co-chair, Kevin Schulz, said: “By many objective metrics, whether the persistently rising number of gamers, continued growth in consumption and participation, increased online activity, or the accelerated mainstreaming of its culture during the pandemic, as an industry, esports continues to thrive.”