The Big World Of E-Sports


You know something is getting big when mainstream media picks up on it, especially if it is seen as a ‘millennial’ activity. Such is the story of E-sports. News outlets such as the BBC, New York Times, and The Washington Post have run stories covering the phenomenal growth of E-sports in recent years.

Technically speaking, the growth of E-sports can be attributed to the widespread adoption of internet services. Greater access to internet connectivity allows people to simply download games onto their preferred console instead of going to the store to buy it.

More importantly, platforms like Youtube have also played a crucial role. There are millions of hours of gameplay footage on the platform, which can be easily accessed by people all around the globe. Inevitably, it’s enough to entice a good number of people to end up buying the game. On top of this, the development of streaming platforms has also allowed audiences to watch their teams battle it out without needing to pay for a pay-per-view. Along with the rise in popularity of e-sports is the increasing demand for good gaming equipment, like this cool gaming mouse for instance.

So if you’re wondering what the numbers of E-sports are actually like, you’re in the right place. We do the research and explore the worldwide viewership and global revenue. And as a bonus, there’ll be the picks of games to get into and platforms to view such content.

Big, big numbers

In 2019, there were 201 million viewers who regularly watched E-sports tournaments — this is excluding the 253 million casual viewers who tuned in occasionally. This amounts to a whopping total of 453 million viewers worldwide! In fact, it’s projected to break through the 500 million global audience mark in 2020.

So which tournaments specifically has the most number of peak viewers in 2019? In first place: League of Legends World Championship. It garnered 3.9 million concurrent viewers and 137 million total hours watched, blowing the next biggest viewership out of the water.

In second place is the Fortnite World Cup Finals. It hit a peak of 2.3 million viewers and had a total of 22 million hours watched. Compared to the previous tournament, this seems like a low number, but it is actually very significant when you take into account the shorter game rounds.

And in third place: Free Fire World Series Rio. At 2 million viewers, it is not far off from the Fortnite Finals. Interestingly, Free Fire is a notable entry as it is the only mobile game with such a big viewership. The top spots have traditionally been dominated by PC games — and this shows us the immense untapped potential of mobile gaming in E-sports.

Who in the world?

With about 201 million E-sports enthusiasts, there’s a range in terms of demographics. The Asia Pacific region makes up a large proportion of that number, at 59%. Europe represents 16% of the enthusiasts while North America makes up only 12%. The rest of the regions not mentioned before make up 15% of the viewers.

This may surprise some readers, but considering that there are 4.3 billion people in the Asia Pacific region or 60% of the world population, it’s no wonder why they make up such a large proportion of E-sports enthusiasts.

That said, although North America has a relatively low share of global viewership, it generated the most amount of revenue in 2019, at US$409.1 million. That represents 40% of global E-sports revenue, almost double the amount of revenue China generated at US$210.3 million. Make no mistake, however, as China may overtake North America in this respect as it has already overtaken Western Europe to be the second-largest E-sports region in terms of revenue.

Popular games

Casual observers of E-sports may get drawn into games based on the ease of understanding what is happening in the game as well as the glitzy graphics of the games. So here’s a rundown of a few such games.

Fortnite is one of the most popular games right now, despite being launched only in 2017. This can be attributed to the more ‘cartoonish’ design which may appeal to a wider audience. Furthermore, its ability for players on any platform, be it PC, or mobile device to play together makes it very accessible.

Player Unknown’s Battleground, better known as PUBG has the same premise as Fortnite, just with a more ‘serious’ looking design. This is probably the game that kicked off the battle royale craze in gaming in recent years. Think Hunger Games but without the romance.

League of Legends is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena(MOBA) that is an ideal game for people who are looking to get into MOBA games as it is completely free to playing online. Dota 2, is a MOBA too, but in contrast, it has more complicated mechanics that require good team coordination and strategies when it comes to team fights.

As for Street Fighter, it’s largely known for its iconic characters which will bring back nostalgia for some. After all, who can forget the retro arcade games? The premise is simple and the gameplay is easy to learn, making it a consistent hot favorite in the past few decades.

Where to watch E-sports

Unlike traditional sports where you have to buy a pay-per-view or a subscription to watch the games, one of the best things about E-sports is the fact that it is almost free to enjoy. Here are some streaming platforms that allow you to watch tournaments live.

Twitch is the foremost streaming platform for E-sports tournaments due to its fantastic stream quality providing high definition and frame rate. This makes for a very seamless viewing experience which adds on to entertainment value.

However, what sets Youtube gaming apart from Twitch is its integration into Youtube and to a greater extent, the Google ecosystem. This allows hopping between different types of gaming content super easily, which helps to build a stronger following of games and teams for the viewers.

Of course, nothing can beat watching a game live and the same goes for E-sports. This elevates the experience to another level as you will be able to feel the electric atmosphere of a live event that cannot be replicated through a screen. It’s a lot of hype and excitement that you won’t want to miss. 


To conclude, this is just a simple round-up of the global viewership that E-sports garners. With a yearly increase in both audience numbers and revenue, E-sports is only set to grow even more in the coming years — so get ready to join it today!

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