Community Leisure UK ezine
January 2020
Growth of esports 'has already impacted traditional sports'

20 Nov 2019

A surge in investments made into the booming esports sector is now creating competition for traditional sports.

The second annual Esports Survey, which surveyed more than 200 sports executives, showed that nearly all respondents (90 per cent) feel the growth of esports has already impacted traditional sports.

The areas in which the executives feel esports is now challenging mainstream sport the most are digital media and livestream viewing options, while more than half (57 per cent) said there is already increased competition for viewership.

Traditional sports are, however, taking the challenge head on by getting involved in the sector themselves.

A number of European football clubs – from Dutch giants Ajax and PSV Eindhoven to Premier League champions Manchester City – have dipped their toes into professional gaming, taking part in major competitions and hiring professional gamers.

The report shows that most respondents believe traditional sports teams/leagues, athletes and celebrities will increase investment in esports – with 88 per cent believe they will do so to a "significant or moderate extent" over the next year.

Traditional sports are also predicted to face increasing competition when it comes to investment in sports.

Nearly half of respondents (47 per cent) to the survey anticipate increased investment in esports from private equity and venture capital firms over the next year. The figure is up from 39 per cent in the 2018 survey, an indication that the sector is mature enough to draw an array of investors.

"The increased involvement of private equity and venture capital firms is a clear sign that traditional investors believe in the longevity of the space and have made the financial judgment that esports is now part of the culture,” said Bobby Sharma, special adviser to Foley’s Sports & Entertainment Group, which undertook the research for the report.

"Investors are betting on the opportunity here given the massive scale of the global competitive video gaming audience."

To download and read the full report, click here.


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