Game on: Brands and the rising popularity of esports

By BRAD HOWARTH 

When COVID-19 led to the postponement of major sporting competitions around the globe, there was one form of contest that surged – even if some pundits might not recognise it as such.

The esports sector was the clear winner in 2020, with burgeoning player participation and viewer numbers coming through on platforms such as YouTube Gaming and Amazon’s Twitch.

The scale of esports was recently demonstrated by GroupM media agency, Essence, in its report Gaming in the 2020s. The report cites statistics including NewZoo’s estimate that the global audience for organised forms of competitive gaming in 2020 totalled 495 million and is expected to rise to 646 million in 2023, with around 45 per cent of viewers watching at least once a month.

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