That, according to Newzoo, is the estimated revenue for all eSports for 2019. By 2021, that’s expected to grow to $1.65B, with over a third of that (~38%) coming from North America alone. Importantly, this money is coming from a number of sources: investors, sponsorships, the audience (in the form of ticket sales and streaming subscriptions), and more. Investment, especially for sports-related eSports ventures, is coming from traditional markets like TV (ESPN) and other sports teams (the NBA, MLS, NHL, and soon MLB), in a cross-pollination of brands and fans alike. Teams are only now beginning to see the advantages of dedicated training —both physical and mental— that have been hallmarks of professional sports teams around the world for years.
In his research, Professor Ingo Froböse from the German Sports University has noted that eSports athletes are “exposed to physical strains similar to those of ‘normal’ athletes.” What, exactly, does that entail? At the surface, he notes similarities as simple as heart rate: eSports athletes in competition may appear to be simply hammering away at their controls, but in reality their brain chemistry and heart rates are more similar to those of race-car drivers or marathon runners. in strategic team games, however, what can sometimes go unnoticed is the high degree of complex thinking and brain activity that goes into planning and executing well. What’s problematic, Froböse says, is that many eSports athletes are, physically, “average.”
There’s big money here, and obvious growth to go along with it, and that’s proving to be a driving force in the design and development of eSports training facilities and opportunities.