Esports Hits the Mainstream

Right before our eyes, esports is becoming serious business. It’s not just for geeks and gamers anymore, and 2017 will probably be long remembered as the year esports hit the mainstream.

  • Esports gamers and enthusiasts number 300 million people worldwide (and counting). The number is projected to exceed 427 million by 2019.
  • Esports has grown from a $194 million industry in 2014 to $463 million globally in 2016. It’s expected to exceed $1 billion in revenues by 2019.
  • Globally, there were 3,877 esports tournaments in 2016. Total prize money awarded exceeded $93 million. That’s serious business for esports teams and participants.

With numbers like that and anticipated levels of high growth, it’s no wonder that esports has caught the attention of some heavy hitters in the traditional sports and entertainment arenas.

Early in July, Disney announced that it had invested in aXiomatic, which owns a majority stake in Team Liquid, a major esports player. Disney also announced they would begin airing esports competitions on ESPN2 and Disney XD, starting with “Super Smash Bros” and “Street Fighter” tournaments. It will also dedicate a block of programming time to esports and gaming to air on Disney XD every Saturday night.

Clearly, with Disney in the mix, it’s a sure sign that big changes are coming. Other prominent figures have invested big bucks as well:

  • New England Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft, commenting on his recent investment of a reported $20 million in an eSports league run by Activision Blizzard (of Starcraft, Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch fame), said: “We really believe this (esports) is the future” because of the way, “millennials consume sports on their mobile devices.”
  • In June, NBC announced it would air a Rocket League tournament on its NBC Sports channel, joining the likes of TBS and ESPN, who have aired portions of several esports tournaments in recent years.
  • A slew of well-known athletes, owners, and franchises from the traditional sports world have been investing heavily in esports teams and leagues, including the Sacramento Kings, Shaquille O’Neil, Alex Rodriguez, Magic Johnson, the Miami Heat, the Philadelphia 76ers, and football clubs FC Copehagen, FC Schalke 04, and Paris Saint-Germain—just to name a few.

With 50 percent of esports fans and players in the USA between the ages of 21 and 35, with an additional 28 percent over 35 (a good portion of which are employed full-time, married, and have children), and a 60/40 male-female split, the esports audience represents a sizable consumer block and a healthy cross section of the mainstream US population.  Esports gamers and enthusiasts aren’t just the stereotypical “nerds in their mothers’ basements” anymore. These are people with considerable buying power and a passion for a sport that’s quickly becoming something more than a hobby or a past-time . . . or the latest fad.

Mobile Edge recognizes that the growth of esports is a game changer—not only for those who participate, but for fans, franchises, the entertainment industry, and investors big and small. We pride ourselves on continuously innovating new designs and products that offer consumers cutting edge carry-and-protect solutions for all of their mobility, gaming, and esports needs.

Earlier this year, we introduced a refresh of our Alienware Vindicator family of backpacks, briefcases, slim cases, messenger bags, neoprene sleeves, and rolling cases. Each of these Alienware 2.0 products comes with a lifetime warranty and is available in various sizes to accommodate 13-, 15-, and 17” laptops.

Next week, look for additional BIG news from Mobile Edge on a whole new line of gaming products built by gamers for gamers—and about how Mobile Edge customers, fans, and others can partner with us on this exciting new opportunity.

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