There is a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding eSports nowadays. For those who do not know, eSports are when video games are played competitively. One of the things that many people like to speak about is the large viewership numbers that the major events are attracting. These numbers are only rising with each passing major eSport event, and the exact numbers are something that has become important for sponsors, media, and organizations to take note of. One thing that many take note of is the number of viewers compared to traditional sports, and it is surprisingly a lot higher than you would probably have guessed.

It Is Not an Apple-to-Apple Comparison Though

When comparing the number of viewers for eSports and those for traditional sports, it is safe to say that it is not always an apple-to-apple comparison. There are a number of reasons for this, and while developing a perfect formula to compare individual data points would be ideal, it is extremely challenging. Therefore, we are hoping that the data you find below will give you a general idea about viewership trends in eSports and traditional sports.

According to a global eSports market report by Newzoo, the eSport audience grew to 495 million in 2020, which was a yearly growth of 11.7%. Newzoo divides eSports viewers into two different categories, and these are “occasional viewers” and “eSport enthusiasts”. The former are those who watch professional eSports events no more than once a month, while the latter are those who watch more than one professional eSports event every month. In 2020 it was estimated that there were 223 million eSports enthusiasts and 272 million occasional viewers in the audience. Many of these not only enjoy watching eSports, but they also like to bet on them too using a variety of the best bookies, many of which can be found at Suomi Veikkaus.

Newzoo has estimated that come 2023, the number of eSports fans around the world will stand at just under 650 million, with eSports enthusiasts increasing to just under 300 million. Another important thing that has to be taken into consideration is the regional breakdown of viewers. Around 50% of those viewers that are considered to be eSports enthusiasts are located in the Asia Pacific region, while 10% of the total number are located in Europe, North America, and the rest of the world. Unlike with a lot of traditional sports, apart from the likes of football, the eSports audience is truly global.

However, fans of traditional sports would argue that this is an unfair analysis because eSports are not just one game – they encompass competitive play in a number of titles across various genres from real-time strategy to multiplayer online battle arenas. Also, the audience for each genre can vary drastically, just like what happens with traditional sports. For example, while Dota 2 has a huge Asian audience, CS:GO is more popular in Europe.

Sports Viewership

Traditional sports still have, on average, more viewers than eSports. This could remain the case for some time, even taking into account the recent growth of eSports when compared to the growth of traditional sports. The sports industry is actually one of the few industries out there that can attract millions of watches at once on television. Football is the world’s most popular sport and has around 4 billion fans all over the world. Cricket sits in second place, with an estimated 2.5 billion fans across the world, while basketball sits in third with 2.2 billion fans, and field hockey comes in fourth place with 2 billion fans.

If the predictions are right and the number of eSports fans reaches just under 650 million by 2023, then eSports will have more fans than sports such as golf (450 million), rugby (475 million), baseball (500 million), and American football (400 million). If the popularity of eSports keeps increasing at the rate that it is, then in a decade or so it is highly likely they will have more viewers than sports such as table tennis (850 million), volleyball (900 million), and maybe even tennis (1 billion).

Most Popular eSports

When it comes to the most popular eSports, there are a number of factors that you have to take into consideration. In order to determine the top three most popular eSports at the moment, tournament prize pools, total player count, and tournament viewership should be taken into consideration.

1. League of Legends

For those who are familiar with the world of eSports, it will be no big surprise to hear that LOL is the number one eSport. Year after year it has been the most popular and has a player count of around 115 million. It tops the numbers when it comes to peak viewership and prize pool money. Throughout 2020, it has a peak viewership of just under 3.9 million, while the prize pool was a crisp $9 million.

2. Fortnite

When it comes to sheer player numbers, Fortnite is at the top of the list as there are more than 350 million people with a Fortnite account. When it comes to peak viewership, the highest peak in 2020 was 2.3 million, while they have an average of 200,000 viewers per Fortnite tournament. Fortnite also has one of the biggest prize pools in the eSports world, with the total prize pool of 2020 being $7 million.

3. CS:GO

What makes CS:GO popular is not the fact that it constantly brings in viewership numbers that rival League of Legends and Fortnite, but also that their prize pool for 2020 was $20 million. At the time of writing, there are 800-850,000 people around the world with a CS:GO account. In 2020, a CS:GO competition that took place in Katowice, Poland, had a viewership of more than 1 million people.

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Betting on eSports

Betting on eSports used to be a bit of a niche market, but that is no longer the case. Nowadays, you can find eSports markets at all of the best bookmakers and bookmakers like to sponsor the big eSports events because they know they can get a lot of exposure out of it. For example, Rizk Casino is one of the main sponsors for ENCE, and other companies are willing to sponsor players such as Aleksi “allu” Jalli as he is one of the best CS:GO players and has a wide following.

However, although it is great to have a plethora of bookmakers to choose from the difficulty that arises is finding the one that is perfect for you. Below we have listed three of the best sportsbooks for eSports betting that you should take a closer look at.

Unibet

Unibet is a bookmaker that excels in many different important areas, but we feel that they excel the most when it comes to eSports betting. When it comes to the different eSports markets that are available, there are not many that can compete with them as they have a plethora of markets for all the popular eSports such as League of Legends, Call of Duty, CS:GO, and Starcraft. To add to their variety of markets, they always offer competitive odds to the eSports betting customers. To top it all off, they have a live streaming service that streams some of the biggest eSport events.

Bet365

When you look at a list of top bookmakers, you should not be surprised to see Bet365 on it. They are one of the finest sports betting sites for all sports and they now have very good eSports betting sites. When it comes to eSports betting markets, they have many that you will not find at other sportsbooks. To top it all off, they offer some very good odds for betting on eSports.

888sport

With 24/7 updates, news coverage, and eSports tips, it is clear that 888Sport is a sports betting site that takes eSport betting seriously. They have extensive coverage of FIFA, which is an eSport that you will not find at many other bookmakers. You will find all of the other popular eSports here such as CS:GO, League of Legends, Fortnite, and Rainbow Six. For all the eSports that they offer, they have a large number of markets and you will never be disappointed by the odds that are on offer.

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