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Esports Media

Esports ad industry worth $280m in 2016, to breach the billion mark by 2021


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

May 9, 2017 | 2 min read

Competitive online gaming in 2016 attracted $280m of ad dollars from big advertisers in 2016 with the capital primarily funneled into video, influencer marketing and sponsorship.

ESL ONE in Cologne 2015

eSports ad industry worth $280m in 2016 / Red Bull

By 2021, eSports will attract more than $1bn of ad revenue from brands as the young industry continues to grow and attract relevant audiences.

IHS Markit's eSports and The Future of TV report found that eSports was primarily an online phenomenon although some broadcasters are starting to tie down rights to the bigger events.

Last year, 57% of eSports video was consumed in China, showing the nations insatiable hunger for content in the sector, in this period the nation averaged 11.1bn streams, showing up the USA’s 2.7bn streams.

Furthermore, video content around eSports is booming as hours viewed globally raised to 6bn in 2016, up by 19% year-on-year.

Ted Hall, research director for IHS Markit, said: “The rapid growth of eSports audiences has attracted some the industry’s largest media and technology companies to the genre, with the likes of Amazon and MTG acquiring key assets.

“Some of these acquisitions are initiating shifts in eSports business dynamics, with players such as China’s Tencent seeking to control assets across the value chain, and publishers moving into league operation."

He concluded: “Investment in eSports will pay off for its big-name backers, as the genre expands both within its target demographic and outside it, with increasing exposure on linear TV set to bring in casual and new fans.”

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