The One Billion Dollar Myth: Methods for Sizing the Massively Undervalued Esports Revenue Landscape

by Joseph AhnWilliam CollisSeth Jenny

In our new paper titled “The One Billion Dollar Myth: Methods for Sizing the Massively Undervalued Esports Revenue Landscape” published in the first issue of the new academic journal International Journal of Esports, we mathematically reveal how the commonly cited 2019 esports industry revenue size of $1.1 billion US dollars reported by NewZoo (2020) is tremendously too low. We estimate the “true” 2019 esports industry revenue size at $24.9 billion US dollars.

In this paper we provide a detailed analysis of Collis’ (2020) proposed Entire Esports Ecosystem model, and highlight the six major revenue sectors of the esports industry: 1) Teams, Professional Players, and Streamers, 2) Game Publishers, 3) Streaming Platforms, 4) Physical Products (i.e., companies that sell gaming products directly to esports players that enable or enhance gaming), 5) Leagues and Tournaments, and 6) Digital Tools (i.e., companies that sell digital gaming products that enable operation, communication, or improvement of esports game play). Each sector’s analysis includes a discussion of the related business models and value chains of the actors in each category, while also providing mathematical profit equations that estimates each sector’s revenue totals.

2019 Total Esports Market Revenue Size Estimate per Sector (Total: $24.86B USD)

As one can see, at an estimated 63.7% of all esports revenues, game publishers strongly control the industry. To our knowledge, no other research has provided such a detailed breakdown of the esports industry’s revenues. In the end, the rise in esports’ global popularity and corresponding investments may be explained by the industry’s revenues that may be much larger and more economically influential than previously thought.

To read the full article please click here for open access at the International Journal of Esports Research

Correspondence regarding this article can be directed to:

Twitter: @DrSethJenny


Ahn, J., Collis, W., & Jenny, S. E. (2020). The one billion dollar myth: Methods for sizing the massively undervalued esports revenue landscape. International Journal of Esports.

Collis, W. (2020). The Book of Esports. RosettaBooks.

Newzoo (2020). 2020 Global esports market report.