sports was already on its way to becoming a multibillion-dollar industry before COVID-19, and the sports shutdown caused by the COVID-19 virus has served as a catalyst to lift it even further. Many competitive eSports leagues have seen substantial spikes in both activity and viewership, especially compared to what was seen a year earlier, and Betcris has been proactive in responding to the growing trend, offering new options on a continuous basis. It has put up more than triple the amount of coverage of leagues and events, including the addition of live streams of certain activity and more lines.
Betcris Chief Operating Officer Oscar Brenes explained: “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has been one of the biggest winners in the eSports industry, seeing an increase in volume of around 700%. Close behind is Dota 2, which has witnessed a 600% increase, and League of Legends with a 350% improvement. We have seen an increase of 15% in betting on the different options, while still receiving sports gamblers attracted to other alternatives, such as horse racing, which is around 20% of our volume.”
Since 2016, there has been a substantial increment in eSports viewers – both occasional watchers and devoted fans. Between 2016 and 2017, there was a 19.3% expansion; in 2017, there were 192 million occasional viewers and 143 million fans, making the overall total around 335 million. In 2018, the year-over-year growth rate had marginally dropped by 13.8%, but still showed improvement. That year, there were 215 million part-time viewers and 165 million fans, raising the total to 380 million.
By 2021, Newzoo predicts that the yearly development rate will be roughly 14%. They likewise anticipate that the total casual viewership will rise to 307 million. Also, there will be 250 million dedicated eSports fans, for a total of 557 million.
The growth has also resulted in an increase in the prize pools that are being awarded. Some major competitions offer multimillion-dollar prizes, such as the $25 million for Dota 2’s The International. Analysts predict that tournament prize money will continue to increase, seeing a 42% jump each year, which is also attracting more betting action.