The growth of esports has fuelled the rise of a number of gaming companies and created a significant amount of growth for shareholders. For instance, shares in Activision Blizzard, which owns Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, among others, have risen from around $US1 per share in 2000 to more than $US95 a share today.
That rise, however, hasn’t come from direct esports revenue but (primarily) from increased sales and subscriptions as a result of the broader growth of the gaming industry. Of course, esports is only one part of the story with that industry-wide growth, but it’s an increasingly important one. Just look at the launch of Blizzard’s hugely successful Overwatch, a title firmly aimed at the esports market, which helped drive a 100% gain in its share price over two years.
Other businesses that are riding this wave include Electronic Arts (EA), which owns a string of popular sports-based titles like FIFA and Madden NFL, and Tencent Holdings, the Chinese social media and gaming giant.