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The new kind of sports activity, called eSport, is the hottest trend in the world of sports betting right now. It is such a controversial phenomenon because there are many argues about should it be considered as a real sport or just as competition. Anyway, the annual revenue of eSport is more than imposing and it has millions of fans around the world.

What it is and who like to watch it?

Electronic sports, or just eSports, are professional video game competitions found out in the late 1990s in South Korea. The peak time of this sport was in 2002 when the xBox released the live playing consoles. Just in a few decades, it becomes a worldwide phenomenon with millions of watchers and fans. Now the most popular video games for eSport are League of Legends, Defence of the Ancients 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Starcraft II.

Like any other kind of team-based sport, eSport is played in tournaments. The game key-points are first-person shoots, real-time strategy, and multiplayer online battle arena games which is called MOBA in a slang. The tournaments are usually held in massive arenas where thousands of fans can support their teams.

Everything is at a really high level now – professional players, huge armies of followers, sold out arenas, sponsorships, and big tournament pay-outs. The days when it was just a childish competition between friends who like gaming are left behind. The numbers of fans are incredible as well. The audience is international, and it is estimated that eSport has around 131 million permanent fans and more than 125 million enthusiasts who watch the games from time to time.

As the popularity of eSports is growing so fast, it is expected to reach the global audience of 303 million people by the end of 2019. However, according to some experts and the good forecast for the industry of IT and smart technologies, the peak of the audience will be much more impressive and might overcome the audience of football fans. In order to better understand how massive this phenomenon is, let say that all current fans of eSport have formed a new country. So, in accordance with demographical statistics of 2018, this country would be the fourth largest in the world after China, India and the United States.

Is it a real sport and real athletes?

These questions can be described as a Pandora box for many ongoing disputes and discussions. The media and representatives of traditional sports deny it as a sports activity and try to prove that eSports can be nothing else than a competition. However, on October 28, 2017, the decision of the International Olympic Committee was signed, and it says that eSport must be considered as a sporting activity, and the players who prepare and train with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes in traditional sports.

eSport players are like traditional athletes. As eSport is based on tactics and strategies, the players must study other teams’ strategies and formulate their own way to defeat the opponents. As a result, they are preparing and training a lot. In addition, as any other professional athletes, gamers face career-ending sports injuries as carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, and nerve-tingling neck pain.

eSport industry even faces doping scandals, cases of cheating and malicious attacks in order to disconnect players. In 2015, during the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament it was found out that many players were using Adderall. This medication can treat attention deficit disorder and boost the level of energy. After this case, the Electronic Sports League invented the random drug tests for all professional gamers in order to ensure the fair competition.

Is it profitable?

eSports has become one of the fastest growing industries in the world and now it can be called a multi-million-dollar industry. According to financial research and statistics, the annual revenue of eSports will reach $906 million worldwide in 2018. By the end of 2019, this sum supposed be more than $1 billion. In 2018, the websites of eSports generated more than $37 million in the USA, $34 million in China, $34 million in South Korea and around $4 million in the United Kingdom.

The prizes for professional eSports players can make many people speechless and the sums are still raising. The total amount of prize money of all eSports events held in 2015 was around $61 million. In 2017, the total prize for the only Dota2 event was $38 million. This year, the provider Epic Games announced that the total prize for Fornite gaming event is $100,000,000. If you still wondering, is it possible to get rich by playing video games, the answer supposed to be “yes, absolutely! “

Betting money are not included in the annual revenue statistics, but it must be kept in mind that it is a big money generator for this industry as well. The most popular eSports betting market is the outcomes of games and tournaments, so it is the same as in traditional sports betting. Now eSports betting is considered as the seventh most popular betting option, according to statistics, it is more popular than golf or tennis. In 2016, $5.5 billion were wagered on major eSports markets worldwide and by the beginning of 2019, the expected sum is around $10 billion.

eSports has become a lucrative industry in recent years that generates billions of dollars in profit, attracts millions of people around the world and became a very promising new betting market. As eSport is described by impressive numbers and continues to grow, some experts state that fantasy league markets can be the future perspective for both sports and betting industries.