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The next challenge for esports Striking the balance between creators and athletes

Report by Karol Severin and Sam Griffin
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20,000 foot view:  Esports organisations are past the initial ‘hype stage’. They are now in a phase where they need to make their business models work commercially. The ongoing adverse macroeconomic climate only exacerbates this. Sustainable long-term growth for esports organisations lies in the wider, gamer-related, entertainment culture – not just in the competitive part of esports alone. While esports companies have been embracing the power of media content and creator talent to an extent already, there is still a lot of room for improvement to unlock its full potential. 

Key insights 

  • Given the worsening macroeconomic climate, there will be increasing pressure on esports organisations to find and / or sustain profitability 
  • There are significant differences in revenue per member (i.e., esports athletes and content creators), ranging from        to        per member
  • On average, tournament prize money only contributes approximately        of a given esports organisations’ revenue
  •        of esports organisations’ members are esports athletes, while only        are creators
  • Reach and engagement are crucial for sponsorships, and media revenue must grow at esports organisations
  • Creators are much more effective than esports athletes in building and engaging audiences, as demonstrated by their follower metrics
  • Esports organisations are overdependent on a small handful of titles, risking disruptions and volatility caused by unexpected game changes and updates
  • Esports organisations need to recognise and play to the respective strengths of athletes versus creators, and adjust their allocation of resources and terms accordingly

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Apex Legends, Call of Duty,        FaZe Clan, Fnatic, Gen.G NRG,        Esports, League of Legends, TSM, Team Liquid,        Entertainment & Sports, Valorant,        Thieves

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