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No one would perhaps have expected to see a 15,000 arena filled with enthusiastic fans, cheering on players fixated on digital screens. Instead of a Champion's League Final, they are at an eSports tournament at the Birmingham Arena, chanting, "DHL, DHL, DHL". Introducing the 2019 ESL One Birmingham's $300,000 Dota 2 tournament – one of many collaborations between DHL and ESL Gaming. This partnership was part of the delivery service provider's long-term strategy to be one with the mainstream in one of the most rapidly growing industries around the world.
Today, we are already living in the golden age of eSports. According to Statista, eSports market worldwide was valued over US$1.38 billion in 2022 and projected to hit US$1.86 billion in 2025. These figures are a clear sign of where the industry is headed. As the market grow, the prevalence of video and mobile games will become stronger. Still, the bigger question is how eSports is growing so fast, and what business opportunities do they offer.
eSports is shorthand for electronic sports, and they typically involve video games where players pitch against each other in a professional tournament. These organised competitions have taken place in most parts of the world, but what has popularised them are the streaming services. Also known as shoutcasting, commentators go to platforms such as Youtube and Twitch.tv to share their take on the matches, making the tournaments entertaining and accessible to everyone with an internet connection.
One prime evidence of the rising interest in digital competitive sports can be found in the statistics. In 2023, League of Legends (LOL), a common eSports game, surpassed 145 million monthly active users worldwide. The popular Fortnite also boasted a large following with over 248 million monthly active players in 2023. Within these players are a handful of professionally trained e-gamers who participate in eSports tournaments, making a name for themselves.
Dota 2 players have won over US$180 million in prize money in just ten years alone. CS:GO, Valorant, FIFA and Rocket League have also emerged as popular themes within this megatrend. As a result of this far-reaching effect, this vortex of fans and eSports players have created a lot of business opportunities for the economy.
Driving the rise in this e-gaming industry is a whole lot of interest from the Generation Zs. Studies have shown that 65% of this population use streaming platforms such as Twitch and Discord which are extremely popular within the gaming community. These platforms feature many eSports stars, making these social sites even more entertaining.
In 2021, the Dota 2 International eSports games broke the single most significant prize pool record. The prize was US$40 million – an offer no professional Dota 2 player has ever come across. With so much money at stake, it is no wonder that businesses have flocked to these tournaments for a chance to improve their brand awareness to the masses.
As more businesses seek to appeal to the younger audience, sponsorship deals within the eSports industry are at an all-time high. The interest from corporations and companies is greater than ever, and these sponsors fight hard for each piece of visual real estate. Ultimately, they aim to convert these gaming audiences to actual paying customers.
DHL Express is one of the pioneers when it comes to supporting the eSports arena. The logistics service provider has been the Official Logistics Partner of ESL since 2018. In 2021, the company extended its partnership by delivering world-class logistics support in over 20 gaming tournaments.
Whether it is eSports or other commercial activities such as e-commerce businesses and warehousing 4.0, DHL Express will be able to help you with your logistics needs reliably and efficiently. Create an account today!