Lockdown meant that people were stuck in their homes for extended periods of time, but this became the perfect catalyst for Esports to boom in popularity.
The year 2020 had people spending the majority of their time at home due to lockdown and restrictions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
An increase in time spent at home naturally led to an increase in time spent on the internet, this has allowed Esports and online streaming platforms such as Twitch to grow exponentially as people search for ways to spend their time during lockdown.
HappyChimeNoises, a content creator on Twitch and YouTube, talks about how the pandemic has given many people such as himself the opportunity to start their own channel.
Not only has the amount of content creators increased over the course of the pandemic, but the numbers overall in every other aspects have also increased drastically.
As seen in the graph above, from the years 2012-2019, the numbers across the board increased steadily.
However, the numbers nearly doubled in just about every aspect during 2020, the year in which lockdown took place across the world.
This massive influx of viewers and new content creators has also attracted a wave of new endorsement deals from major brands around the world.
Locally, The NUEL, which is the biggest university Esports organiser in the UK, partnered with the clothing company Levi’s for the Winter 2020 season.
Besides sponsorships, 2020 also saw the birth of new organisations coming in to capitalise on the influx of cash injected into the industry.
Former Manchester United Legend and current owner of Inter Miami CF David Beckham has also plunged into the Esports industry by launching the Esports organisation Guild Esports.
Outside of the UK, many other world-renowned brands are also making moves by signing major endorsement deals with top Esports teams.
In 2020, BMW, one of the world’s largest producers of motor vehicles, partnered with five of the world’s top Esports organisations; the American organisation Cloud9, the British organisation Fnatic, the Chinese organisation FunPlus Phoenix, the German organisation G2 Esports and the South Korean organisation T1.
The Italian Luxury brand Gucci also stirred up the Esports community by announcing a partnership with the British Esports organisation Fnatic.
But perhaps the most shocking news came the following year when the Esports organisation TSM signed a record-breaking $210 million deal with the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, making it the largest sponsorship deal in Esports history at the time of the announcement.
With numbers still rising, some might start asking if Esports has the potential to rival traditional sports in terms of both viewership as well as endorsements.
Second year Sports Journalism student
Passionate about sports and esports