Esports spikes the interest not only of gamers but also of major investors.
Esports is one of the fastest-growing industries, estimated to reach $13 billion by 2025. In 2020, nearly 1 in 4 people worldwide were aware of esports, with a projected market growth of 9% annually through 2023. Esports is more popular than ever and offers many opportunities for investors.
There are mainly 3 types of esports companies that currently garner investors’ interest: game publishers, game engine developers, and betting sites.
Most major companies are listed in stock markets and esports game publishers are no exception. Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), Tencent (OTC:TCEHY), Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), or Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ: TTWO) are already under traders’ scrutiny.
Unity Software Inc. (NYSE:U), the company behind the Unity game engine, is one of the most successful in the industry. The cross-platform game engine is particularly popular for mobile game development and powered games like Pokémon Go or Call of Duty: Mobile. The company announced full-year revenues of $772.4 million in 2020, a 43% increase from 2019.
Huya (NASDAQ:HUYA) is one of the largest esports companies in a powerful market, China. This country is the world’s largest single online market, with over 530 million esports viewers in 2020. Huya is the main live gaming service in China and saw a rise of 29.1% in its revenues compared to 2019.
Online gambling sites also garner investors’ interest, just like Esports Technologies (NASDAQ:EBET). The company offers real-money betting on esports in over 140 jurisdictions, reaching a large audience of esports lovers. In Canada, websites like GGbet gather lots of attention with many esports games to bet on.
Esports Entertainment Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:GMBL) had spectacular growth over the past three years. The company also specializes in esports gambling and signed several partnerships with esports providers all around the world. The share price went up by over 330% in that time, proving the ever-growing interest of players in online betting.
Skillz (NYSE:SKLZ), a platform enabling social competitions in mobile games, also made quite an impression when it joined the New York Stock Exchange in December 2020. It became a publicly traded entity after merging with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) valued at $3.5 billion.
Super League Gaming (NASDAQ: SLGG) has been helping the amateur esports scene thrive since 2015. The company is home to the largest Minecraft server host community in the world, Minehut. This Minecraft community serves over 3 million users, making Super League Gaming a powerhouse for the most popular open-world sandbox game. In 2020, the company’s viewership reached 2 billion views, growing by more than 1,500% compared to last year.
Besides the traders of Wall Street, more popular faces also began investing in esports. Will Smith led an investment group that put $46 million in Gen.G, the 6th most valuable esports organization in the world according to Forbes. Drake is another avid esports enthusiast who appeared in Tyler “Ninja” Blevins’ streams on Fortnite. He is also the co-owner of 100 Thieves, an esports organization with top teams across all main esports games.
Famous athletes also have their eyes on esports and begin investing in this growing market. Michael Jordan invested over $20 million in Team Liquid’s parent company, aXiomatic Gaming. Fellow basketball players Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala also invested in esports, supporting esports organization TSM in their League of Legends and Fortnite competitions.
The COVID-19 pandemic highly impacted sports events while esports events kept on thriving. Many people just found out about esports while in lockdown, opening a brand new market for esports companies. The rise of esports is on a steady trend and should keep on increasing for the years to come.