from the going-viral dept
While we’ve covered the growth of esports throughout the world for some time, it’s also true that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in that growth accelerating with incredible speed. Back in March and April, when states began shutting down because we had — checks notes — 20k to 30k new COVID cases per day, esports really took off. Due to shut downs, IRL professional and college sports shut down too. The result is that Americans who thirst to watch competition dove headlong into esports broadcasts, with participation and viewership clipping at 20% growth month over month. An entire economy sprung up around the industry as well, with streaming companies and broadcasters catching up to the sudden rise in interest.
But if you thought this was a uniquely American thing, you’re wrong. And if you think that this wave is going to crest once we’re all putting vaccine needles in our arms, I think you’re wrong about that, too. An Indian sporting news site recently did an interview with the CEO of Skyesports, a prominent esports company in India. While you will have to forgive some translation wonkiness in them, two questions and answers jumped out at me as I read the interview. The first was about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on esports’ growth in India.
Q. Did Covid-19 really help esports in India as much as people say? Or were you expecting this kind of growth already?
Definitely, agree. Covid19 impact has amplified the gaming scene across the world. Our Viewership and user base increased 10x and we are seeing a 20x growth rate in terms of revenues for this year alone. We have created more IPs and all of this was due to covid situation.
Twenty times growth is the sort of thing industry captains salivate for. And, while it is tough to get too excited about the silver linings of a pandemic that has killed and hurt so many people, it is still true that this growth in esports is exciting for fans. With growth comes better competition, more professional broadcasts, deeper market penetration, and jobs and opportunities.
This pandemic is going to go away some day. But esports’ growth might be here to stay. Why? Well, because in many markets, such as in India, all of this growth still hasn’t scratched the surface of the potential market.
Q. Has Skyesports thought of expanding into South Asia? Where in specific?
A:In India, esports are explored by only less than 10%. There is more to explore in India before we think about stepping foot in the South Asia region. We want to grass-root in India at the largest level before thinking of other regions and we are focusing the most to conquer India. We want to take esports to nook and corner.
It’s but one anecdotal example, but an important one. Given how ripe the Indian marketplace is, and how important its economy and industries are on the world stage, an explosion of esports there is a sign of worldwide growth as well. And, the horrors of this pandemic aside, that’s fun for us fans.