Esports has truly burst into the mainstream public consciousness this year, culminating in Fortnite’s World Cup in July, with unprecedented audience size, $30 million pot of prize money and a $3M 1st prize.

As reported by Global Amusements & Play, “Today, esports can make an individual player just as rich as a real-world sports star, and the Fortnite World Cup peaked at 2 million concurrent views, dwarfing all previous esports totals, and potentially making involved companies richer still.

“Due in part to esports’ breakthrough in China and South Korea, there is yet more to come from the Asia Pacific region, especially as more varied demographics are welcomed. A new report conducted by Rethink Technology Research has found that esports revenue will leap from $900 million in 2018 to $5.05 billion in 2024, with revenues split between game publisher fees, sponsorship, media broadcasting rights, tickets and merchandise, tipping and advertising.

“The revenue growth is accelerating ahead of the rate for acquiring new esports enthusiasts, which itself will go from 154 million in 2018 to 377 million in 2024. There is a rising revenue per fan.

For Pay TV operators that have yet to make a play in esports, the opportunities will come primarily through growth in casual viewing, attracted by “sanitized” esports competitions with appeal beyond enthusiasts. There will be scope for traditional media firms to gain media rights and sell advertising. A key aspect of the forecast is that revenues from media rights, where broadcasters gain rights to broadcast tournaments, are set to climb more steeply than any other category of esports monetization over the next five years, increasing more than 12 times.

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Esports revenue is predicted to increase 5 times from 2019 to 2024 in an almost straight line from $1 Billion to $5 Billion

What this could mean?  FCDN has been closely covering and following the emergence and growth of esports to its current level of close to $1 Billion. Our industry has proven that it can capture a ‘small slice’ of the esports market. The Virtuix Omni VR Arena 4 Player is still grossing more than $5,000 per week for the past 5 months at Pinballz FEC and similar revenues since its installation at D&B. Virtuix cash prizes for each weekly tournament is $2000, much less of course than the $30 M won by players in the World Cup, but still significant for our industry at one FEC.

Some industry pundits wrongly believe that the leisure out-of-home (OOH) is wasting its time getting involved in esports. However, I am thankful that visionaries like Virtuix and Hologate and others are paving the way and teaching us that there are millions of people out there that will go to a FEC to hone their skills, in other words, ‘practice, practice, practice’, in a social environment. Even a slice of $1 Billion is not bad for investing $100,000 or less as competition drives down prices, for an esports VR attraction that takes up less than 400 sq. ft. and attracts customers to your Facility.