30+ eSports Facts to Transport You to the Virtual World

eSports have taken the world by storm, growing into one of the most profitable sectors of the gaming industry.

As of 2020, eSports are watched by over 200 million people, most of whom are also active participants in this billion-dollar market. And with worldwide audiences set to reach 474 million this year, there’s no stopping the electronic sports industry.

But how big is the eSports sector in the UK and how does the country compare to some of the largest markets in the world?

To find out the answers and more eSports facts and stats, take a look at the fascinating figures we’ve put together.

Ready?

Game on!

eSports Statistics From the UK

1. Only 3% of Brits are avid fans of eSports.

(Statista) (Influencer Marketing Hub) (Newzoo)

Even though eSports are on the rise in the UK, they’re still lagging behind the global average. According to eSports facts from a 2021 Statista survey, the majority of respondents (61%) stated that they weren’t fans of them, while 20% said they’d never heard of the term. Just for comparison, in 2019 1.8 billion people in the world said that they were aware of eSports. 

Speaking of eSports fan base facts and figures, 435.9 million people around the globe watched eSports in 2020, 215 million of whom were classified as enthusiasts, whereas 220.5 million watched them occasionally.

2. 7% of UK adults have watched eSports.

(IBISWorld)

When it comes to eSports viewership statistics, a 2017 YouGov survey suggest that about four million individuals have watched electronic sports, whereas just 8% would be interested in watching them again.

3. There are 691 active eSports players in the UK.

(Statista)

In terms of the number of active professional electronic sports players, the UK ranks eighth in the world. The US is first with more than 4,300 pro gamers, followed by Germany (973) and South Korea (890).

4. Only 6% of internet users who watch eSports tournaments come from the UK.

(Statista)

This puts Britain well behind the global average of 22%. In fact, together with Germany, Belgium, Japan and the US, Britain is among the countries with the lowest number of eSports tournament spectators.

5. 59% of British eSports fans also watch traditional sports.

(British eSports Association) (DataReportal)

Electronic sports viewers aren’t set on electronic games and computers alone, eSports facts indicate. As many as 59% of eSports fans in the UK also like football, boxing, tennis, and other popular sports. Still, the number of eSports viewers in the world is lower than the 3.5 billion who watch the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics.

6. There are nearly one million female eSports viewers in the UK.

(eSports News UK) (British eSports)

As specified by the latest data from Newzoo, 69% of eSports viewers are male, while 31% are female. The low representation of women prompted the British eSports Association to launch its Women in eSports campaign in 2019, which aims to promote diversity and inclusivity in this industry.

7. The majority of eSports enthusiasts in Britain are between the ages of 21 and 35.

(eSports News UK)

Unsurprisingly, eSports participation facts suggest that younger generations are more enthusiastic about them. Namely, 63% of eSports viewers are aged between 21 and 35. More specifically, 42% are males from this generation, and 21% are females, making up the biggest share of all age groups. By contrast, only 1% of males between the ages of 51 and 65 are eSports viewers—the smallest demographic of all.

8. UK-based Fantic is the fourth highest-earning eSports team in the world.

(eSports Earnings)

This electronic sports team has earned a total of $16,253,243.71 from 967 tournaments throughout its career. Judging by eSports teams facts and stats, this sum puts this London-based organisation in fourth place, preceded by top-earner Team Liquid ($37.5 million), second-ranked OG ($34.5 million), and third-ranked Evil Geniuses ($24.6 million).

9. Earning around $155,000, Jaden Ashman is the highest-paid eSports player in the UK.

(Statista) (Guinness World Records) (eSports Earnings)

As per 2020 eSports gaming facts and statistics, Jaden Ashman, aka Wolfiez, recorded the highest earnings through eSports that year. This 16-year-old pro gamer is also a Guinness Book record holder—he’s the youngest player to win one million dollars in a single championship and the youngest gamer to win a million from eSports.

With earnings of 113.25 thousand, Call of Duty player Skrapz (Matthew Marshall) is second, while Thomas Trewen, aka Tommey, who earned 106.7 thousand by playing the same game,  takes third place.

Globally, Dota 2 player Johan Sundstein (N0tail) is the highest-earning eSports gamer. Throughout his gaming career, this Danish player has amassed a total of $6.97 million.

10. Nine percent of UK adults have bet on eSports.

(The Gambling Commission)

As reported in a survey by the UK Gambling Commission, one in ten adults have ever bet on eSports, an increase from the 6% recorded just a year earlier.

Somewhat expected, it’s mostly young males who wager on eSports. For instance, betting on eSports facts and statistics reveal that a fifth of 18-24-year-olds have placed a bet on one of these competitions, compared to just 9% of the 45-54 age group. The same is true for 14% of men and only 5% of women.

11. YouTube Gaming and Twitch are the biggest streaming platforms in the UK.

(Statista)

A 2020 Statista survey revealed that more than half (52%) had used YouTube Gaming in the last year to stream video games. 42% chose Twitch, while 31% opted for Facebook Gaming. Caffeine and Dailymotion Games got a smaller piece of the pie—they were mentioned by 16% and 14% of respondents, respectively.

12. Twitch had 299,000 DAUs on iOS and 32,000 on Android in June 2021.

(Statista)

Twitch has also seen an increase in usage among Brits, eSports streaming statistics suggest, especially since the start of the pandemic. Actually, the number of monthly Twitch mobile users in the UK hasn’t been under one million since early 2020. Thus, in June 2021, the Twitch mobile app had 1.2 million monthly active users on iOS and 97,000 on Android.

13. FIFA 21 was the best-selling video game in the UK in 2020.

(Statista)

Looking at the latest eSports statistics, FIFA 21 ranked at the top of the list of best-selling games in the country in 2020, which includes both digital and physical sales. Last year, 2.18 million FIFA 21 games were sold on British soil. With 1.42 million copies sold, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War finished second, whereas GTA V (1.12 million copies) was right behind it.

UK eSports Industry Statistics and Facts

14. The eSports sector in the UK generated around £60 million in revenue in 2019.

(Ukie) (eSports News UK)

This puts revenue from the UK at a little less than 8% of the global market. As per leading market analyst Newzoo, the value of the worldwide eSports industry in 2019 was $950.6 million.

eSports market statistics and facts from PWC, on the other hand, reveal that this industry in Britain should increase at an annual rate of 20.1% by 2023 from £22 million in 2018.

15. Britain’s eSports market grew by 8.5% annually between 2016 and 2019.

(Ukie)

Although not as big as the market in the USA or China, the electronic sports industry in the UK is growing fast. Based on 2019 eSports facts and figures, the sector supported more than 1,200 jobs and contributed £111.5 million in Gross Value Added to the economy.

16. Live streaming of eSports generated 72 jobs and £7 million in GVA in 2019.

(Ukie)

In addition to their direct contribution to the economy, eSports also generated income from streaming platforms. In fact, traffic from the three leading streaming platforms in the UK—Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Level Up Media—created 30 full-time jobs and contributed £4.3 million in direct Gross Value Added.

On top of that, quick facts about the eSports industry tell us that the activities of eSports games publishers in the country added 216 full-time employments and another £19.5 million in GVA, while eSports-related visitor spend produced ten jobs and £0.5 million in GVA.

17. China accounts for nearly a fifth of the eSports market revenue.

(Statista)

China is set to generate 360.1 million US dollars in 2021, which positions it firmly as the biggest eSports market in the world. Next is North America, which is expected to bring in $243 million, and Western Europe, with an estimated $205.8 million in revenue this year.

eSports Games Facts and Stats

18. The 2021 Free Fire World Series is the most-watched eSports event of all time.

(Dawn.com)

Hosted in Singapore, the finale of the 2021 Garena Free Fire tournament had a record-breaking 5.41 million peak viewers. The finale matched Phoenix Force against the Brazilian organisation LOUD, with the former becoming the ultimate champion and claiming the $500,0000 prize pool.

19. More than 100 million people watched the 2019 League of Legends World Championship.

(The Loadout) (WIN.GG) (Roundhill Investments)

Raking in more than 100 million viewers, mostly on streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube, Worlds 2019 was the most-watched eSports event at the time, facts about League of Legends and eSports show.

This tournament also broke records on Twitch, bringing in 1.7 million peak concurrent viewers on that platform alone. In doing so, the LoL World Championship beat Dota 2 and Fortnite as the most-watched stream of 2019 and the most-watched event ever on Twitch.

By contrast, the International pulled in 1.1 million viewers on Twitch, while Fortnite’s Black Hole event recorded 1.6 million concurrent viewers.

The average minute viewership for this legendary event was 21.8 million people, which League of Legends eSports viewership facts reveal is another record for Worlds 2019.

20. League of Legends is the most popular eSports discipline around the world.

(ESCharts)

Clocking 580.8 million hours watched, LoL, eSports facts and stats show, takes the top spot as the most popular game in the world. With 354.2 million hours watched, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is second, followed by Dota 2, which recorded 253.3 million hours watched. 

21. In March 2020, Counter-Strike had about one million concurrent players.

(AFK Gaming)

The year of Covid-19 has been good for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. In March 2020, the veteran first-person shooter game broke two of its own records—one for average and the other for peak concurrent players.

More specifically, stats and facts about eSports gaming indicate that CS:GO recorded 1,001,756 peak and 563,676.3 average concurrent users who played the game on a daily basis.

22. The International 2019 had the highest prize pool.

(Statista)

The total prize pool of the International 9 stood at an amazing $34.33 million, higher than any tournament in the history of eSports. Actually, the Dota 2 championship has had the highest prize pool for almost five years running.

Second on the list is the Fortnite World Cup 2019, with a prize pool of $15.29 million and $15.1 million for the solo and duo finale, respectively.

eSports Growth Statistics and Future Trends

23. The number of eSports enthusiasts should hit 577.2 million by 2024.

(Newzoo)

Expected to increase to 474 million in 2021, up from 435.9 million in 2020, the global eSports audience is further projected to grow to a whopping 577.2 million by 2024. Out of these, 291.6 million are estimated to be occasional viewers, while 285.7 million will be devoted eSports fans.

24. Revenue from the worldwide eSports market will grow by 14.5% in 2021.

(Newzoo)

As the number of viewers and engagement increases, so does revenue. Newzoo predicts that the global eSports industry will generate $1.1 billion in revenue by the end of the year, or an impressive 14.5% increase compared to 2020. Further projections and statistics about eSports show revenue going up to $1.6 billion between 2019 and 2024.

25. Sponsorships will continue to be the main revenue stream for the eSports industry in 2021.

(Influencer Marketing Hub)

Newzoo’s latest predictions show that sponsorships will continue to be the lifeblood of the eSports industry, generating $641.0 million in 2021. Media rights come in second with $192.6 million, an estimated increase of 13.4% over the previous year.

As the market recovers from Covid-19 restrictions and in-person events are back on the schedule, other revenue streams are also expected to grow. Thus, income from merchandise and tickets is predicted to go up by 13.8% to $66.65 million.

Other income streams that saw an increase during the lockdowns will continue to climb—streaming is expected to rise by 25.7% reaching $25.1 million, while the digital segment is set to go up by an incredible 50.4% to $32.3 million.

26. Mobile is the future of eSports.

(Insider Intelligence)

Based on Insider Intelligence’s eSports statistics, growth in this sector will most likely be powered by mobile gaming. Thanks to mobile internet penetration and 5G technology, gaming on portable devices is projected to account for 45% of the total games market in the world.

Fun Facts About eSports

27. eSports gamers are classified as professional athletes in the United States.

(Forbes)

Professional eSports gamers have the same privileges as NBA, MLB, and NHL players, including the same taxation and rights to enter the country. This should come as no surprise, considering how much time and effort pro gamers devote to practising and improving their abilities—traits that put them in the same corner as other professional sports players.

28. Fortnite and Dota championship rewards are larger than the ones won at Wimbledon.

(Engadget)

Talking of crazy eSports facts and stats, did you know that pro gamers make more than some professional athletes? 

When OG won the International Dota 2 tournament in 2019, the team earned $15.6 million in total or around $3.1 million per team member. That’s quite the windfall, especially compared to what some of the biggest tennis players make from tournaments. For instance, Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep made “just” $2.9 million as Wimbledon champions.

29. The Zhongxian eSports Stadium in China is the biggest dedicated arena in the world.

(e-Sports Tripper)

With 6,000 seats, the Three Gorges Harbor eSports Stadium has the highest seating capacity out of all dedicated eSports stadiums in the world. The second-largest is the eSports Arena Arlington in the USA. Boasting a total of 2,500 seats, this arena is the biggest eSports stadium in North America.

The Gfinity Arena in London, on the other hand, has 600 seats and is ranked sixth on the list of the biggest dedicated eSports venues in the world.

30. The League of Legends trophy case was designed by Louis Vuitton.

(HYPEBEAST)

One of the little known eSports facts is that one of the world’s best fashion brands is a major partner of League of Legends. Louis Vuitton collaborated with LoL in 2019 to design the TRUE DAMAGE skin collection, as well as the trophy case for the LoL Worlds tournament.

Interesting facts of eSports tournaments reveal that it took 900 hours of work to create this trophy case, which not only looks stylish but also uses the hi-tech elements incorporated in the build.

31. There is an eSports version of the Premier League.

(Goal) (Manchester City F.C.)

Called the ePremier League, this tournament features all 20 Premier League teams (but not the best Premier League players), which compete in FIFA 21 on Playstation 4 and Xbox One. This year, Shaun ‘Shellzz’ Springette was crowned the champion on behalf of Manchester City, winning £20,000 from the total £40,000 prize pool.

More than 22 million people watched the two finals in 2021, which were hosted live from the Gfinity Arena in London and broadcast by Sky Sports, BT Sport and BBC Sport in the UK.

Final Thoughts 

Video gaming has long been an integral part of UK culture; however, as these eSports facts and figures show, the country still has a long way to go if it wants to compete with some of the leading markets like China and the US.

That said, given the increasing number of casual eSports viewers across Britain, as well as the advancements made in next-gen consoles and mobile gaming, there’s no doubt that the UK eSports industry will soon catch up with some of the biggest players on the market.

Sources:

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