Report: Global esports revenue to reach $906M in '18

2/23/2018 1:07:40 AM EST

The global esports industry will reach $906 million in revenue this year, up 38 percent from $655 million in 2017, according to a market report by research firm Newzoo.

The $655 million in revenue last year represented a 33 percent year-over-year growth rate.

The firm's annual Global Esports Market Report stated that North America is expected to account for $346 million of that total, with China accounting for $164 million. The two regions are projected to generate 56 percent of global esports revenues this year.

The report also said that brands will invest $694 million in esports in 2018, with that figure growing to $1.4 billion by 2021.

Newzoo projects the number of esports enthusiasts (those who watch more than once per month) to increase by 15 percent worldwide this year to 165 million people. Meanwhile, the total number of esports viewers will grow 13.5 percent to an estimated 380 million people.

The report projects the esports audience to grow to more than 500 million "occasional viewers" by 2021.

The esports scene saw less total investment by brands in 2017, but Newzoo anticipates that brand investment revenues will continue to rise, with the largest growth expected in media rights sales. In one recent example, Twitch reached a $90 million, two-year streaming rights deal with the Overwatch League in January. Facebook has also signed an exclusive deal with ESL.

NOTES: Danny Lee withdrew during the first round due to undisclosed personal reasons.

--Field Level Media