Will Esports ever go mainstream?

The global Esports industry is growing at a phenomenal rate and is expected to hit an all-time high market value of over $1 billion for 2020. That’s quite a leap from 2018 when the industry generated revenue of just over $775 million. But what does this mean for the popularity of Esports in general? Well, to put it simply, it means that Esports is finally making it into the mainstream with live tournaments attracting huge audiences and even drawing the attention of major bookmakers.

In fact, such is the rise in popularity that even major betting platforms like Betfred have decided to dip their toes in the market. They’re going all out to build awareness around their Esports hub and will even offer free bets to new customers. It’s an astonishing development in an industry that not so long ago was considered the realm of geeks and nerds. But that’s no longer the case.

Last year the Fortnite World Cup was one of the biggest Esports events in the history of the industry. With a prize pool of $30 million and an estimated 350 million players around the world, it was always going to draw in the crowds. But even so, no one truly expected the event to pull in over 2 million viewers.

Yet the most interesting thing about those viewing figures is that a huge percentage of the viewing audience were casual spectators. That means they weren’t necessarily Fortnite players or even gamers at all. Yes, we’re talking the general viewing public that just popped in for a look. This is likely down to a shift in attitude towards gaming with more people now realizing that gamers are quite skilled individuals. In fact, video games are no longer considered to be the waste of time that they once were; everyone from employers to healthcare professionals are realizing the value of gamification in everything that we do. Some research even suggests that gaming keeps a student’s mind sharper.

All of this combined with the high-profile nature of live gaming tournaments has seen the Esports industry catapulted into the mainstream. And with those growth stats we mentioned earlier, there seems to be no signs of the industry retreating to the dark shadows of bedrooms and basements ever again. So what about the question ‘will Esports ever go mainstream?’ Well, the answer is that they already have. And it’s now just a matter of time before they start competing with traditional sports.

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