It used to be you could spot an athlete a mile away. He or she was the one on the street corner or the high school athletic field holding a ball, a bat, or warming up with a round of calisthenics.
Not any longer.
Today’s athletes are just as likely to be carrying a laptop or gaming bag (of a Mobile Edge variety, of course) on their way to the big game at a downtown convention center, high school gymnasium, or even a college or pro football stadium.
Electronic Sports, or eSports for short. The name describes video game competitions where individuals and teams play in front of live audiences. Some eSports competitions are amateur only, while others are for professionals. That’s right—professional video game players and competitive leagues! ESPN even has an eSports section on its website, right alongside the NFL, MLB, and NBA.
“In 10 years’ time, (eSports) will be as big as the NHL,” leading gamer Olof Kajbjer told CNN in a recent interview.
We’ve sure come a long way from Pong and Space Invaders.
Just How Big Is eSports?
According to the CNN article, “Is Professional Gaming a Sport,” the current eSports audience is estimated to be close to 300 million people worldwide, roughly the entire population of the United States, and it’s projected to exceed 427 million globally by 2019.
Revenue-wise, the eSports industry grew from $194 million in 2014 to $463 million in 2016, and is expected to exceed $1 billion in revenues by 2019 (compared to $13 billion for the NFL and $10 billion for MLB in 2016).
Newzoo, a leading provider of market intelligence covering the global games, esports, and mobile marketplaces, estimates that while eSports remains most popular in Asia, in the USA alone, fans and participants now exceed 31.4 million people.
Who Are The eSports Athletes?
You might think the eSports athlete is the stereotypical computer nerd or gamer. You know the drill—a young man, lives in the basement, just comes out to see the light of day for food, water, and the occasional bathroom break.
But you’d be wrong.
True, eSports fans and players worldwide tend to be young; half are between the ages of 21 and 35. Yet in the USA, more than half of American eSports enthusiasts are employed full time, 44 percent are parents, and 38 percent are women! And a sizeable segment, some 28 percent, are over 35, which represents a target rich demographic for advertisers.
What Does the Future Look Like for eSports?
Newzoo estimates that by the end of 2017 eSports revenue will exceed $696 million worldwide. Brands will contribute $517 million, or nearly 75% of this figure, in the form of partnerships, investments, and sponsorships with eSports teams and individuals. From a financial standpoint, North America is the largest eSports market, with revenues of $257 million expected in 2017.
No matter how you slice it, that’s big business and a fertile marketplace, especially when you consider that more than 20% of American male millennials now watch eSports, making it just as popular as baseball or ice hockey. Further, there are 6 million eSports fans in the US alone who do not watch baseball, ice hockey, basketball, or football. Clearly, the eSports fan base represents untapped potential for brand marketers to appeal to an entirely different type of athlete and sports enthusiast.
Bring It On
As a leader in mobility products for an increasingly mobile world, Mobile Edge innovates new designs and continuously adapts its products so that customers, including those eSports participants and enthusiasts, can enjoy access to cutting edge carry-and-protect solutions for all of their mobility needs. Most recently, Mobile Edge introduced a refresh of its Alienware Vindicator family of backpacks, briefcases, slim cases, messenger bags, neoprene sleeves, and rolling cases. Timed to coincide with the release of Alienware’s next generation of bestselling gaming laptops, each of Mobile Edge’s Alienware 2.0 products comes with a lifetime warranty and is available in various sizes to accommodate 13-, 15-, and 17” laptops.
About Mobile Edge
Founded in 2002, Anaheim-based Mobile Edge provides durable and protective laptop cases, messenger bags, backpacks, and more for busy travelers, students, professionals, and gamers. Mobile Edge is known for its innovative and stylish designs, superior-quality, lifetime warranty, and commitment to customer satisfaction. Many leading computer manufacturers rely on Mobile Edge to design and build custom cases for their products.