Awareness of the esports industry will grow by over a third this year, according to a report by data firm Newzoo.
The report says that over one billion people globally will know about esports by the end of 2016—a 36 percent increase from 2015. Newzoo has also increased their estimate of the global ‘esports enthusiast’ audience, from 131 million to 144 million.
Newzoo is also projecting continued growth for the esports audience in the coming years, with global awareness passing 1.5 billion and over 200 million enthusiasts by 2019.
Unsurprisingly South Korea has one of the most engaged populations. Of Korea’s 50 million residents, 32 million people have an awareness of esports. China also makes up 28% of total global esports awareness. Outside of Asia, three of the highest per capita awareness rates are in Spain, Poland, and Turkey.
These increases are in no doubt down to the significant escalation in the global reach of esports. Throughout the last year, broadcasters like the BBC, ESPN, and Turner Sports have all broadcast or are preparing to broadcast esports. This month alone major tournaments will take place in Austin, Shanghai, London, Paris, and Moscow, to name just a few.
Newzoo also cites the increase in publishers pushing their games as esports, such as Psyonix with Rocket League and the increased investment by Valve in both Dota 2 and Counter-Strike, as a major driving force behind wider esports awareness.