Deloitte, one of the world’s biggest financial and professional service firms, has some bold predictions for the future of the esports industry.
According to the firm, esports generated $400 million of revenue in 2015, a number set to grow to $500 million in 2016. This might be less than predicted by other firms like SuperData, which predicted over $1 billion for the coming year, but is still growth that Deloitte considers significant compared to traditional sports markets.
In the report, analysts attempt to explain why some insiders overestimate the industry’s potential while others discount esports out of hand as a successful global industry.
“People often under-estimate the global annual market size as being in the millions of dollars only,” the report says. “Conversely, esports advocates overestimate the current market size, believing annual revenues are already in the billions, and comparable to major league sports.
“Today, a major esports event may attract 40,000 people watching live, and tens of millions watching over the Web. This could be interpreted as meaning that “esports is bigger than basketball … However, there are far fewer major events for esports than for traditional sports, which means that in dollar terms esports is not yet playing in the big leagues.”
The report gives an interesting perspective on whether esports should be compared to traditional sports or entertainment, and suggest that the answer is neither—instead, it suggest a more apt comparison to entertainment sports brands like the Harlem Globetrotters.
Esports fans might be a little disappointed to see the wildly ambitious revenue predictions shot down, but the report still makes for very positive reading about the future of the industry.