Esports is a rapidly growing industry that is gaining momentum all over the world. A recent report by Newzoo predicts that by 2024, the total audience for esports will amount to a staggering 577 million people worldwide.

Esports growth is being driven by a number of factors:

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Earnings in eSports Tournaments

Esports earnings have risen as its popularity has grown and that in turn has increased viewership and encouraged a new generation of players to try out the sport. The top five esports games based on the most prize money in 2021 according to Esports Earnings were:

  • Dota 2 ($231,180,489.52)
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ($110,688,306.47)
  • Fortnite ($99,362,917.41)
  • League of Legends ($82,056,088.16)
  • StarCraft II ($34,695,574.78)

If prize money continues its upward trend, it will only encourage more kids to pick up a controller and make it a career choice.


There are now multiple markets and opportunities for fans to enjoy Esports betting as sportsbooks look to target a younger demographic than their current traditional sports bettors. This has in turn raised interest in the esports industry and helped it gain credibility among fans of other sports.


Many well-known brands have made significant eSports marketing investments as they see the potential in being associated with an industry that continues to grow. BMW, Ralph Lauren, Nike, Kia, Williams Racing and long-term partner Intel, are all big supporters of esports.

Increase in Platforms Offering Live eSports Coverage

Twitch, YouTube and Facebook are the main platforms when it comes to watching esports, and their accessibility makes it easier for its global fan base to watch their favorite team or players. But there are now multiple alternative streams available to fans, including players’ own channels that offer live broadcasts and content.

Olympic Recognition - almost

The Olympic Esports Series is a global virtual and simulated sports competition created by the IOC, which will culminate with live, in-person finals at the first-ever Olympic Esports Week in Singapore in June. While it is not the official Olympic games with a global television audience of over 3 billion people, it is hoped to be a catalyst for the sports growth and ultimate inclusion in a future Olympics.

Which countries are seeing the biggest growth in Esports?

South Korea

Widely regarded as being the country that started the esports phenomenon, South Korea is home to some of the most famous esports stars in the world, including Faker, Bang and Wolf. Esports are regularly broadcast on public television in the country and top players earn millions in prize money and sponsorship.

This growth in the sport was boosted back in 2000 when the South Korean government established the Korea e-Sports Association, in a move that was aimed at making esports an official sporting event and improving its funding. These government-aided academies for professional gamers continue to create the Esports stars of the future.


In 2003, China’s Olympic Committee and the China Sports Federation announced esports as an official sport. Games were broadcast on live TV and interest boomed. Despite some government interference and initial health fears around gaming, China is now expected to become the second-largest esports market after the US.

Its huge population and growing middle class have helped fuel the growth of the industry, while the government has established a dedicated esports town in Hangzhou to develop the next generation of gaming talent. Shanghai, Wuhan and Guangzhou have also followed suit with their own esports programs.


Recently the European Union Parliament passed a vote to recognise and fund esports and video games in Europe. It recognised the value that esports and the video game industry offers economically and culturally in Europe and aims to develop a long-term European video game and esports strategy.

Europe is currently home to many top esports teams and famous players and has hosted several major esports tournaments. Sweden, Denmark, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Finland, France and Poland lead the way when it comes to player numbers and earnings, but Germany is slowly becoming a dominant force and now holds an increasing number of esports competitions. It is also one of the first countries to offer a visa for esports players.

Latin America

One of the fastest growing esports markets in the world, Latin America has a population of more than 650 million people. Mexico and Brazil lead the way in eSports revenues and player numbers but thanks to a younger population, the popularity of esports is growing faster than anywhere else in the world.

The biggest factor holding back the industry in Latin America is the lack of cloud computing infrastructure and internet accessibility and speed. This affects services such as gaming, streaming and storage and unless addressed will hinder growth.

United States

There are over 200 million estimated players in the US, including multi-millionaire gamers Ninja and Sneaky. However, the country is being held back by a lack of investment and infrastructure, resulting in no clear pathways for players to progress to professionals. As such, the US remains a largely untapped market with huge potential.

The Future of Esports

The industry is seeing sustained growth around the world but barriers to growth still remain in some countries. Cultural attitudes towards gaming, a lack of investment and substandard technological infrastructure are all issues, however, if these can be addressed, esports will no doubt soon be on its way to becoming an Olympic sport.