Almost everyone these days has played a video game. There are millions of gamers around the world, and a lot of them are getting into the world of esports. But how many of them are casual gamers, and how many of them become esports enthusiasts. Here we will be answering precisely that while also trying to figure out how big esports actually is. 

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Before we dive into how big esports is, let’s take a trip down memory lane to see where esports was in terms of popularity in its early days, so we can have an idea about how far we have come. 

While it is no clear answer to what was the beginning of esports, the first esports event is reported to have heald in 1972, which was called the Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics. Only five players competed in that event, and the winner received a Rolling Stone subscription for a year.

The first large-scale esports tournament was held in 1980, which was the Space Invaders Championships. Over ten thousand gamers competed in this tournament. 

How Big Is Esports

Here are some stats that help paint a clear picture of how big Eposrts actually is. 

Viewership Numbers

According to research conducted in 2021, esports managed to acquire about 197 million esports enthusiast viewers and around 200 million occasional viewers, which brings the total esports viewer count to around 400 million. By 2020, this number went up to around 436 million viewers and around 474 million in 2021.

At this rate, the number of esports enthusiast viewers is expected to increase up to 285 million by 2024, and occasional esports viewers up to 292 million. This will bring the total audience size to around 577 million viewers. However, there will be shifts in terms of video games as some video games will get less popular, and new video games will start to rise in popularity. 


It was only recently that the global esports revenue managed to cross the one billion dollar mark. According to research conducted in 2022, the global revenue generated by esports in 2019 was around 957.5 million U.S. dollars. This number dropped a little in 2020 to about 947.1 million U.S. dollars. But most of this drop is attributed to esports events being canceled throughout 2020 because of the Covid 19 pandemic.

In 2021, the worldwide esports revenue crossed the one billion dollar mark and reached 1084.1 million U.S. dollars. At this rate, this number is expected to reach a whopping 1.6 billion U.S. dollars by 2024. 

Prize Money

A big chunk of the esports revenue goes to the players in the form of prize pools. In 2018, the esports event that held the crown for the largest prize pool was The International 2018 for Dota 2, which managed a prize pool of around 25.5 million U.S. Dollars. In the same year, the League of Legends World Championship had a prize pool of 6.4 million.

The International for Dota remains the leader in terms of the prize pool, with the prize pool reaching 34.3 million U.S. dollars in 2019 and 40 million U.S. dollars in 2021. The Fortnite World Cup Finals for 2019 acquired a prize pool of 50.4 million U.S. dollars. Certain other games are also catching up as they grow in popularity. The VALORANT Champions Tour 2021 had a prize pool of one million U.S. dollars. 

Why Is Esports So Big

One question that quite often seems to come up while discussing esports is who would want to see other players playing video games and battling out to see who the best player is. Well, it’s the same kind of people that would go see their favorite NBA team in a basketball match. 

The reason why esports is soo big is fairly simple. Tons of people play competitive video games because they are super accessible. People that play competitive games like to see talented players perform as they give their best in a tournament. It is just like how football fans want to see their favorite teams and favorite players compete with each other. 

We get to witness some of the most insane plays in clutch situations with esports. These insane moments are what make esports soo exciting. There are endless possibilities in esports. 

What Does The Future Look Like For Esports

In nearly every stat that we look at for esports, one immediately apparent thing is that all of those stats point in one direction, which is up. As we have already mentioned, it was only about ten or so years ago that making a reasonable amount of money from esports was unheard of. Here we are in 2022, seeing esports players earning well over the average salary for any other profession and esports events having prize pools of over a million dollars. 

The future of esports looks very bright. As more and more countries get access to high-speed internet and high-performance PC components because of prices going down, tons more people will start to enter the world of esports. This will not only grow the worldwide revenue generated from esports, but it will also allow talented individuals to finally get some recognition and start getting paid for doing what they love. This is just the beginning, and we have quite a lot of room for more growth. 


Needless to say, esports is huge, and a much larger chunk of casual gamers are shifting to playing esports titles. The numbers say it all. However, this is just the beginning. Esports has a lot more room for growth, and all the stats suggest that the only way from here is up.