The European esports market will generate US $209 million in revenue by the end of this year, according to a new esports white paper published by NewZoo and sponsored by Esports Bar.
Despite only capturing just 20 per cent of the global esports audience, Europe as a whole accounts for 32 per cent of the worldwide esports economy’s revenues ($660 million), making it the second largest esports market in the world. North America currently generates 36 percent, while Asia, the third largest market, accounts for 27 per cent.
By the end of this year, European video game consumers will buy $22 billion in game software revenues, the esports audience in the region will total 77 million and media rights revenues will grow 500 per cent from 2016 to 2020 alone.
NewZoo’s end-of-year report also provides an in-depth look at four of Europe’s most esports obsessed countries – Germany, Poland, Spain and Sweden – and analysed their esports audiences and live streaming viewership for major events. With 4.1 million esports fans, Spain has the biggest audience in the region but their 687 professional players are just one-third of Sweden’s 1,836 recorded talent. Sweden and Poland recorded lower esports fans in comparison, with only around half a million and 2.8 million, respectively.
Germany is home to the second largest esports audience in Europe at 3.4 million and produced the most professional esports players, with 2,317 German gamers going on to play in the big leagues. These figures are not as surprising, given the country is the birthplace of the Electronic Sports League.
In terms of prize money and social media popularity, Sweden’s pro players earned their keep, with $22.3 million won and over 350,000 fans following local fan-favourite League of Legends player Rekkles on Facebook and Twitter. Poland’s pro gaming community trailed second-last, with $6.7 million in prize money earned, but their star CS:GO player Pasha raked in the most social media followers on Facebook, with 833,000 fans following him on the platform.
The esports industry globally has had a massive year and NewZoo believes Europe will continue to be a big part of that growth, partly because of the rising number of esports fans who don’t even play any of the popular competitive games they watch. Around 26% of European CS:GO, Dota 2 and League of Legends viewers fit the bill, which isn’t as surprising a trend this year given other popular esports like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds have recorded larger viewership (up to 15 times more) than than their actual active player bases.
Depending on how these factors continue to play out in the coming two years, NewZoo’s report ultimately believes the esports industry’s growth could reach $2.4 billion in 2020 “in an optimistic scenario”, significantly higher than their base scenario assessment of $1.5 billion. SuperData’s own estimates place the esport industry’s growth to $1.9 billion.