eSports are becoming mainstream and are on track to reach 300mn viewers by 2022, on par with NFL viewership today. Atheneum has seen an increase in requests for expert opinion in this space to highlight trends and market drivers for eSports. Atheneum understands that while the primary platforms are still PC and consoles, mobile is gaining traction, especially in Western markets, as mobile games improve their visual quality and competitiveness. ‘Battle Royale’ style games like Player Unknown’s Battleground and Fortnite, which are available cross platform, and mobile first games such as Supercell’s Clash Royale and Summoners War from Com2Us are driving the rapid growth of mobile eSports in the west.
Investments in eSports are also on the rise. Investors are keen to buy into teams, video game platforms as well as products and video content that enhances the user experience. Recent rounds of funding by eSports organisations have reached records, most notably Fortnite developer Epic Games raised $1.25B from seven firms, two of which, aXiomatic and Vulcan Capital have ties to the eSports industry. eSports teams are drawing high profile investors with Basketball legend Michael Jordan funding aXiomatic, parent company of Team Liquid, to the tune of $26m, and Rapper/record producer Drake recently announced his co-ownership of 100 Thieves eSports team.
Investment is also growing thanks to the booming eSports market in China which is built upon the largest gamer base in the world, with approximately 442 million gamers in 2017. Our offices throughout the globe which includes Shanghai is well positioned to guide our clients through the eSports market landscape.