The world’s most important esports statistics in 2021

It is often said that esports is growing but how much of the talk is just hype and what’s the reality? In this article, we give you the lowdown of the most significant esports statistics like the millions of dollars in prize money and team earnings, so you know the latest facts about esports.

Best Esports Betting Sites for Statistics

  1. bet365
  2. VulkanBet
  3. Betway
  4. 1xBet
  5. Pinnacle
  6. Rivalry
  7. Arcanebet
  8. EnergyBet
  9. Nitrogen
  10. Unibet

Esports growth statistics in modern times

Esports was valued at close to $1.1 billion in 2019 and it is expected to be worth almost $2 billion by 2022, despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, the esports industry has enjoyed a more than 20% annual increase rate since 2017.

When did esports become popular?

Esports really started to grow post-2000. From 2010, it was almost impossible to ignore the importance of competitive gaming in the video game industry. Until then, esports events lacked the professional appearance and professional esports teams and players, but it was around 2010 when major brands associated with video games decided to get involved, some sponsoring teams and tournaments.

It was estimated there were 500 million esports fans worldwide by 2020 and it is expected that the industry will continue to flourish.

Top Esports

In terms of esports earnings, the most generous prize pools in 2020 came from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Dota 2 and League of Legends (LoL) tournaments. CS:GO competitors won $14.75 million overall, Dota 2 players won $8.87 million, while LoL professionals earned $8 million in total. Fortnite came a close fourth with $7.87 million handed out in prize money.

Overall esports winnings in 2020

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Dota 2 League of Legends Fortnite
$14.75 million $8.87 million $8 million $7.87 million

Dota 2

Dota 2 is one of the most popular esports around, which means there are plenty of related betting opportunities. The game has more than 100 characters which players can use to battle in games of 5v5. You can also battle using Roles like Shadow Demon.

Dota 2 was heralded a ‘Modern multiplayer masterpiece’ by the Destructoid video game website. The game is free to play and full of different strategy and tactic options to test in order to gain an advantage.

A top betting site for Dota 2 odds is 1xBet.

League of Legends

League of Legends was initially released in 2009 and a lot has happened since then. LoL is a multiplayer online battle arena game created by Riot Games. One of the perks of LoL is that it’s free. You just have to pay for extra, non-essential in-game content. A leading bookmaker for betting on LoL esports is bet365.

CS:GO

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or CS:GO is a multiplayer first-person shooter that sprouted as a mod of Half Life almost 10 years ago.

As in games like Call of Duty (CoD), if you die in CS:GO you respawn immediately in a random location on the map. The different maps in CS:GO are Inferno, Mirage, Nuke, Overpass, Dust II, Vertigo and Ancient while the game modes include Competitive, Casual, Deathmatch, Arms Race, Demolition, Wingman, Flying Scoutsman, and Danger Zone.

CS:GO’s blog states that the game had 26,961,867 players in May 2020. One of the best esports betting sites for odds on CS:GO is Betway.

Fortnite

Fortnite is relatively new to the esports scene having been released in 2017. It is a free-to-play battle royale/survival game for up to 100 players. Moreover, you can play Fortnite as a lone wolf, in a two or in a squad. The most popular Fortnite game mode is Fortnite Battle Royale, which is the mode famous streamer Ninja became known for.

Fortnite Battle Royale attracted more than 125 million players in one year alone, earning its developer Epic Games $9 billion in revenue.

One of the best Fortnite betting sites is VulkanBet.

Garena Free Fire

If we take mobile esports games into account, Free Fire gets into the top three most-watched esports of recent times. There were about 1.2 million concurrent viewers watching the Free Fire League 2020 Clausura in 2020, fractionally more than the Mobile Legends Professional League (MPL) ID Season 5, but less than the 2.8 million that watched the MPL ID Season 6.

Free Fire is a battle royale mobile game that was the most downloaded mobile game in 2019. There are several bookmakers that offer betting on Free Fire. For example, you can find odds on Free Fire at Rivalry.

Esports statistics: competitive gaming audiences

The year 2020 was a major 12 months for esports revenue growth and esports viewership statistics. Some of the biggest esports like LoL, CS:GO and CoD enjoyed audience growth. This was despite many tournaments having to be cancelled and others going from offline to online events.

The League of Legends World Championships attracted more than 139,000,000 hours watched throughout the event, making it the most-seen esports tournament ever.

Just behind was the Fortnite World Cup Finals in 2019, which drew in more than two million live viewers.

In terms of concurrent viewers, Dota 2’s International tournament in 2017 attracted five million, mainly from Twitch streams.

Where are people watching esports?

The main companies involved in video game streaming are Amazon’s Twitch, Google’s YouTube and Facebook Gaming. However, in 2020, YouTube made a move to dominate the esports streaming market by striking deals with the Call of Duty League, Overwatch League and Hearthstone esports.

YouTube took exclusive rights to these competitions with the deal. The leagues are owned by Activision and were shown on Twitch until this agreement with YouTube. It is clear the investment by YouTube was needed as Twitch attracted around 50% more viewers for the League of Legends Championship Series in 2020.

YouTube

In 2020, YouTube Gaming entertained its viewers with more than 100 billion hours of gaming content, which was about double the hours watched in 2018. YouTube used to be the number one place to go for online video game content. You could see all the biggest esports events on YouTube, from Halo to CS:GO. However, YouTube is still a popular place to watch esports in South Korea and China, as well as the US and Europe.

Twitch

Although official game channels, like ESL_CSGO on Twitch, sometimes host tournaments, esports viewership statistics tend to show that fans like to watch individual personalities instead.

Esports streamers dominate the Twitch streaming world, with Fortnite esports streamers Ninja and Tfue, boasting 16.7 million and 10.2 million followers respectively.

Facebook Gaming

You might not have heard of Facebook Gaming, at least not until recently when they announced they wouldn’t take any revenue from streamers until 2023. This move sent out a message that Facebook are serious about taking market share from YouTube and Twitch.

Surely some big esports streamers will be tempted to move to Facebook if it means they can keep all the money they make for a couple of years?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that even when they start to take money from streamers, it will be less than the 30% other companies demand.

Possibly in answer to Facebook’s bold decision, Twitch decided around the same time that, from September 30, 2021, they will stop users from logging in to their accounts using their Facebook credentials.

Only time will tell if Facebook Gaming can recover from a slow start and truly compete with YouTube and Twitch but we wouldn’t bet against them.

Where is esports popular?

There is virtually nowhere in the world where esports industry statistics don’t show an upward trend or at least some level of competitive gaming activity. However, it is an industry that has been dominated by teams from the States, Europe and East Asia.

Some countries you might not expect to have somewhat successful esports teams are Russia, Jordan and Lebanon.

South Korea

South Korea is one of the leaders in world esports, boasting some of the best players. South Korea was actually the first country to recognise professional gamers as athletes. In addition, most of the people in South Korea who watch esports are between 18 and 34 years old.

China

According to esports stats, there are 250 million people in China who regularly play esports. And esports players from China have earned $4.6 million in 2021 so far, second only to the earnings of United States players who have $8.7 million.

One of the Chinese teams competing with the best in the world are Newbee who play Dota 2. They won the Dota 2 International in 2014, claiming $5 million in prize money.

USA

Esports players from the United States have earned $8.7 million so far in 2021, more than any other country, but this is from 1,879 players, compared to $4.6 million from 355 Chinese players. This suggests more Americans compete in esports but Chinese players are better!

Team Liquid started in the Netherlands as a StarCraft news site but then recruited LoL and CS:GO teams in the US. Liquid now have the biggest all-time earnings of any team with $37.3 million. Evil Geniuses are the third highest-earning team and they reign from Seattle in the US.

Esports stats on the most successful teams

The esports world is always changing. Unlike in sports like soccer, where the same teams tend to dominate for years, if not decades, there are often new teams winning esports tournaments. But some manage to keep winning and growing.

Team Liquid esports statistics

Team Liquid have a 62% all-time win rate out of 868 matches. They have won more prize money overall than any other esports team. Also, they have collected more than $37 million in 1,964 tournaments.

Some of Team Liquid’s biggest achievements are winning four League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) competitions, The International 2017, the China Dota 2 Supermajor, and EPICENTER 2016 and 2017.

In terms of esports statistics, Team Liquid player, Ivan Ivanov’s numbers are impressive. He has won more than $4.5 million in his career so far. Ivanov’s best year was 2017 when he won more than $2.4 million.

OG Esports statistics

OG Esports focus on CS:GO, Dota 2 and Valorant. They are the second most winningest esports team according to Esports Earnings with overall earnings of more than $34.4 million from 113 tournaments.

If you are looking for a team to bet on in a Dota 2 tournament, OG Esports are worth a shot. They’ve earned 98.14% of their winnings from Dota 2 events. OG came first in The International 2019, claiming the mammoth $15.6 million top prize.

Astralis CS:GO statistics

Astralis are one of the best CS:GO teams in the world. They have been placing consistently high in the past year, with a range of top 10 finishes, plus they won the Intel Extreme Masters XV – Global Challenge, the BLAST Premier Circuit 2020, and the DreamHack Masters Winter 2020: Europe, in the last 12 months.

Astralis have won over $9 million as a team and are an ‘all eggs in one basket’ kind of squad. If it’s not CS:GO, it doesn’t matter to them. Just 0.14% of their earnings come from other esports, namely FIFA. Get more information on FIFA betting in our 2021 FIFA betting tips and sites guide.

T1 esports statistics

T1 (formerly SK Telecom T1) is a team from South Korea that specialises in League of Legends but has recently made a move into the battle royale arena. T1 won the LCK 2019 Spring Playoffs and the LCK 2019 Summer Playoffs, with a combined prize money haul of 200 million South Korean won (about $180,000). Most of the team’s $10.1 million winnings come from competing in LoL. The esports stats say they have won more than $7 million just playing this one esport.

Statistics of people's ages when they retire from esports

Unlike extremely physical sports where the body takes a lot punishment and there are arguably more ways your body can let you down, forcing you into retirement, esports players can play until an older age.

Nevertheless, we see from statistics on who is playing esports that many players retire in their mid-to-late twenties. Sometimes this appears to be simply because, after years of winning good prize money, they can afford to put their controller down, or it might be a loss of motivation for the sport. Another reason is that pro players tend to start their career at a young age.

One example of an esports player starting young is Lil’ Poison, the youngest ever professional gamer, who got a pro Major League Gaming deal at the tender age of seven!

Esports brand investment

YouTube and Facebook Gaming are just two of the big brands investing heavily in esports at the moment. Team SoloMid have been the most valuable esports-only company for a while now. In December 2020, they were valued at $410 million but they just sold their naming rights to cryptocurrency trading website FTX for $210 million. It is the biggest naming rights deal in esports history and shows how relevant esports is alongside emerging markets like cryptocurrency and betting.

In addition, esports betting site Betway just announced a partnership with G2 Esports from Berlin and FURIA from Brazil respectively. It just further confirms Betway’s commitment to esports.

Furthermore, also in 2021, sandwich franchise Subway agreed a two-year deal with British organisation Guild Esports.

What is the future for esports?

Esports growth statistics suggest the industry will continue to expand at an annual rate of 24.4% until at least 2027. Moreover, research company Newzoo predicts the worldwide esports audience will hit 557.2 million people in 2024, up from 397.8 million in 2019.

The US, China and South Korea might be the esports big boys right now, but we could see the top 10 esports countries change a lot in the next few years. With around $25 million won from esports, Brazil is a country with a lot of potential.

Plus, Saudi Arabia is likely to become more influential in esports. Prince Faisal bin Bandar, the president of the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS) and the Arab Esports Federation says nearly 50% of Saudis are gamers. Add this large market and the country’s wealth and intention to develop new, profitable industries, and there is so much potential for esports revenue growth there.

FAQ section

Where to find statistics for esports betting?

Liquipedia.net is one of the best websites to find all kinds of facts and esports statistics that can help you make better betting decisions. Moreover, you can find statistics on esports teams on different betting sites like Pinnacle.

Is esports growing?

According to esports viewership statistics and stats on prize money and brand deals, yes esports is growing significantly.

What is esports’ revenue growth in recent years?

The esports industry has grown by more than 20% every year since 2017.

Who is playing esports in 2021?

Most esports players come from China, South Korea and the United States.

Which esports team earns the most money?

Team Liquid has won more than $37 million, the most money of any esports team.

Esports Betting Pro: Our Verdict on Esports Statistics

After seeing all kinds of interesting esports stats, we realised a few things: one, in a sport where numbers are so integral, statistics on wins, prize money, and relating to teams’ popularity will always change. The most successful esports team in history probably will not remain Team Liquid.

Also, it is clear that esports is gathering momentum and esports statistics will not just change, but they will balloon, especially viewership statistics.

Finally, the biggest entertainment companies in the world want a piece of the esports action, so it is clear esports is not a passing fad, and it must now be respected as a serious, competitive, and much-loved sport.

James Briscoe

Written by: James Briscoe

I’m a writer who’s into football, esports, health and nature. It’s an exciting time to be covering esports betting as things seem to be growing at such a speed. I’ve always followed sports and it’s fun to use a whole different lexicon when writing about CS:GO, Rocket League and all the other big esports at the moment.

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