When kids talk about Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and his gaming streams on Twitch, they speak of him as if he were LeBron James or Tom Brady. They analyze the 26-year-old’s every move in the battle royale game “Fortnite.” They quote his kill ratios and stats.
They emulate his tactics and moves as they dream of becoming competitive gamers. Technology consulting firm Activate estimates more than 250 million people watch esports, sometimes known as electronic sports or professional gaming, and most of them also play. His viewers propelled Blevins to the cover of ESPN The Magazine, which branded him gaming’s first “crossover star.” He averages more than 72,000 viewers during competitions, has access to more than 12 million followers, and nets about $300,000 a month in streaming revenue.
Blevins is one among many gaming superstars—and that elite group is about to get bigger. By 2020, Activate suggests that 70 million people will watch a single esports final, which is higher than the viewership for U.S. professional baseball, soccer, and hockey finals. Activate projects that in the United States esports will have more viewers than every professional sports league but the NFL by 2021. They project that there will be 84 million viewers of esports, higher than the 79 million MLB viewers or the 63 million NBA viewers.
This is still dwarfed by the 141 million NFL viewers. Go to a tabular version of esports viewers in the United States at the bottom of the page. Though the popularity and pay of gamers like Blevins is rare and the industry is still new, “everyone has to take note of how fast it’s growing,” said Eunkyu Lee, professor of marketing and associate dean for global initiatives at the Martin J.
Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. Unlike football or cricket, esports is not rooted in any region or culture, so it has a more global appeal, Lee said. “In today’s world, being able to reach billions of eyeballs is very important for building the product’s commercial value.”
Are sports or esports more popular?
Is Esports bigger than sports? – Not quite. Video games may be the most popular form of entertainment media, but esports don’t hold a candle to traditional sports. Physical sport has more active fans, and its market value is much higher. Still, esports are rising in popularity, and tournaments are becoming more prominent and lucrative.
Is esports bigger then sports?
Can Esports Be Bigger Than Sports? – At this point, it’s almost impossible to see a future where esports is bigger than traditional sports. While the esports industry can grow to epic proportions, it’ll likely never rival the traditional sports industry.
For millennia, the human race has relied on sports as a means of competition, entertainment, and for many millions of athletes, a lifelong career. By comparison, the esports industry has existed in its current form for little more than a decade. While technology is becoming increasingly capable and fantastic, and we as a species are relying on it and exploring it more with each passing day, it’s unrealistic to think that, at any point soon, esports will overtake traditional sports,
It’s estimated that the global sports industry will grow to a value of around $350 billion by 2031. By the same time, the esports industry is expected to be worth around $3.5 billion, suggesting immediately that the esports vertical is worth a mere 10% of the value of the sports industry.
Olympic Games – 4.7 billion FIFA World Cup – 3.5 billion Tour de France – 3.4 billion Rugby World Cup – 857 million Super Bowl – 114.4 million
Now, compare that to the total, global esports audience, which sits at around 500 million. In terms of money, the highest-paid sports athlete in 2021 earned around $130 million, while the highest-paid esports player, Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein has earned $7 million in his entire career.
Is esports worth more than sports?
The $1 billion eSports industry is harnessing demographic and technological shifts and adopting alternative revenue models to vie for market share with traditional sports, – The global sports market makes between $300 billion to $600 billion a year in revenue.
How big is the esports industry?
eSports Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Streaming Type (Live and On-demand), By Revenue Streaming (Media Rights, Advertisement, Sponsorship, Ticket & Merchandise, Game Publisher Fees, and Others), By Gaming Genre (Real-Time Strategy Games, First Person Shooter Games, Fighting Games, Multiplayer Online Battle Arena Games, Mass Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2022-2029 The global eSports market size was valued at USD 1.22 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow from USD 1.44 billion in 2022 to USD 5.48 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 21.0% during the forecast period.
Based on our analysis, the global eSports market exhibited an average growth of 15.4% in 2020 as compared to 2019. Increasing live streaming of games, notable investments, growing viewership, engagement activity, and league tournament infrastructure are the factors influencing the market growth. The market is benefiting from growing revenue opportunities from increased industry specialization for gamers, organizers, influencers, and game developers.
A remarkable international prize pool and streaming revenue make electronic sports a professional career choice. Additionally, colleges and universities have begun offering dedicated programs to develop skilled professionals.
Has esports surpassed sports?
Esports Already Has a Larger Audience Than American Football In 2019, esports drew in 443 million global viewers; American football and rugby combined attracted 410 million viewers, Green Man Gaming reported. The esports audience is projected to surpass the audience for baseball by 2022.
Is esports the fastest growing sport?
eSports Influencers Break Ground on Rapidly Growing Sport One of the fastest-growing in the world is eSports. Since entering the mainstream, competitive gaming has skyrocketed in popularity, especially among people under 40. The industry is predicted to approach $2 billion, with viewers of the top events in the,
Alongside the rising popularity is the opportunity to create content for a strong legion of fans and aspiring competitors. These eSports influencers leverage their gaming skills and ability to connect with fans to promote the sport. Johan, commonly known by his eSports name, is the world’s wealthiest eSports gamer, amassing almost $7 million in total earnings since he began in the sport playing Dota 2.
The 29-year-old Dane won The International, an eSports championship event, in 2018 and 2019 and has won four major championships in Dota 2. Johan shares his insights and experience at eSports events on his, which has more than 167K subscribers. His channel features gameplay from his events.
- Whose real name is Harrison Chang, is a professional player of Dota 2, Fortnite and other games.
- He earned $1.9 million in 2019 from gaming and continues to compete and stream on Twitch.
- Psalm has more than 81K followers on Twitter and is also active on,
- Or Hector Rodriguez, has been nominated for the 2022 Creator of the Year in the eSports Awards.
Hector competes with OpTic Gaming and streams to a wide audience on, where he plays Call of Duty and Halo. Hector had a unique opportunity to participate in media with NASCAR driver Corey Lajoie. OpTic Gaming sponsors Lajoie’s No.7 car., known in gaming as Fear, is a retired Dota 2 player who remains active in the eSports space as a streamer and YouTube creator.
- He has more than 113K followers on, and his experience in eSports shines through his content as he breaks down the techniques of competing professionals.
- Donovan Hunt, known as, is one of the foremost FIFA gamers worldwide.
- He competes with his team, Fnatic, and engages his followers with videos of his extraordinary skill in the FIFA game franchise.
Tekkz has more than 276K Instagram followers, and he engages with them by holding FIFA points giveaways, showing off his skill in videos and posting content from the events he competes in. plays League of Legends professionally and works as an interviewer and journalist.
- She spent seven years as a software developer before introducing her passion for eSports.
- Ashley is another Content Creator of the Year nominee at the 2022 eSports Awards.
- She keeps her fans updated on Twitter, where she has more than 130K followers.
- She shows her team’s exploits through travel and competition and shares plenty of interesting photos and videos of them having fun.
: eSports Influencers Break Ground on Rapidly Growing Sport
Is FIFA big in esports?
FIFA is one of the most popular esports, but what are the biggest tournaments? Let’s find out which events you should tune into.
Should esports be considered a sport?
The question has been circulating again, especially in light of recent announcements by the Olympics Committee that a Virtual Series will be featured this Summer, about whether esports can be categorized in the same class as traditional sports. Bolder positions taken by voices like the European Journal for Sport and Society and Global Esports Federation, but the challenges of physicality and esports taking place, at least partially, in a virtual world give rise to a debate.
The real question is: what does it mean to be a sport? Most sports contain the elements of being a competition, between individuals or teams, involving skill and physical exertion for entertainment. There’s obvious examples of this in Basketball, Soccer, and Tennis, but other sports that are considered legitimate sports have a looser adherence to these constraints, especially in terms of physical exertion.
Take Curling, Pool / Billiards, Archery or Golf – all considered sports – while these activities require less physicality, each involves skill and some interaction with actual objects. And some would say, particularly of Pool, if you can play while drinking a beer, it should be considered a game.
Archery, Driving and Shooting sports might align closer with esports in a categorical sense, since each requires the athlete to use a device (for lack of a better word) to compete and the contest measures accuracy and manipulation of that device more so than strength or speed. Naturally, the same physicality piece is the center of the debate, but using the same criteria, there’s a strong case for esports.
Competition: not every video game is an esport What’s important for those outside the gaming community to understand is that not all games can be considered esports, there needs to be a competitive element. There aren’t winners in Grand Theft Auto (your only outcomes are arrest or death) and there are no Animal Crossing world championships.
- Instead, games like League of Legends, Rocket League, DOTA, and Overwatch that require fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, sharp reaction time, communication, and team dynamics are proper esports.
- Once gaming evolved to its current online form, the competition grew larger than who you could beat in your living room, and opened the arena to millions on the internet.
Because of this, esports have become hyper competitive, with massive global player bases all vying to be the best. Skill and ability: it’s not “ez” To be a professional gamer requires a significant amount of training, just as traditional sports do. All esports require a dedicated concentration, precision, and execution; based on genuine skill, with very little left to chance.
You cannot become a professional gamer without thousands of hours of in-game experience. The plain fact that there are millions of active players for top title esports are a driving factor behind why someone who is, at times, just milliseconds faster is a champion while those slightly slower are unknown.
Similarly, in Tennis, the gulf between the serve speed of a Wimbledon winner and a country club pro might only be as little as 10 miles per hour. Esports athletes therefore also have their prime, peaking at about age 25 years old, similar to that of many traditional sports.
- To give a key example of just how fierce competition is, in the 2018 Overwatch league, the Shanghai Dragons suffered a 42 game loss streak despite adhering to a controversially rigorous practice schedule of 72 hours a week,
- Is it real if it’s virtual? A complicating factor arises from esports being virtual.
It’s the hardest part of the debate because there aren’t many precedents or close comparisons to be drawn. This is the first time in history that events of this nature have been able to take place. The knee-jerk instinct of critics might be to assume that it’s “easier” to strike a ball in a virtual world than it is in the real world.30 seconds against a Supersonic Legend in Rocket League might change their mind.
This assumption is again, an underestimation of the kinds of skills required. It is actually because esports are virtual, and require more of the mind than body, that they are the levelest playing field to have ever existed. There are few other sports where all genders, regardless of height, stature, or (many) physical impediments are able to go head to head.
The skillset found in gamers is unique in comparison to other sports, but it is no less of a skill. The scale: numbers don’t lie Both in terms of viewership, revenue and prize pools, esports not only compares, but is exponentially growing when compared to traditional sports. Esports (as a group) recently eclipsed the MLB and followed the NFL in terms of viewership, and is on track to reach 646 million viewers by 2023,
- It’s become a billion dollar industry, where professionals are earning real salaries and serious award money.
- Esport prize pools rival traditional events, the 2018 DOTA 2 International had a pool of 25.5 m while the 2018 Daytona 500 (Nascar) was 15.5m; the 2017 League of Legends Championship had a pool of 4.9 m, with the 2018 Tour De France being 2.7 m.
Who needs to recognize it? From another perspective, the only real distinction between what’s considered a game or sport is the determination of official governing bodies. Esports have already been formally recognized as a sport by the Asian Games, Universities and many countries around the world, including Pakistan,
- This formal nod from both the Olympics and Special Olympics is a great stride for the adoption of esports and sets a precedent for its status as a sport.
- This debate is bound to resurface until gaming is more normalized and is able to cross cultural and generational divides.
- Regardless of which authority announces it to be a sport, the declaration won’t resonate until more recognize esports as earning a rightful place in the sports world.
Esports aren’t going away. They will continue to prove to be the future of competition. As Dr. Andy Miah so eloquently said in his TEDx talk at the University of Salford, “Esports are worlds in which we find innovators, creators, makers, and performers seeking to reimagine our lived reality – the spaces in which we collaborate and compete.” Hopefully more will begin to appreciate that vision.
Why esports are better than real sports?
Esports vs. Sports: Key Differences – While significant similarities exist between traditional sports and esports, fundamental differences also exist.
Location logistics, Traditional sports require all players to be physically present on the same field or court. Esports, on the other hand, allows players to compete from all over the world via the internet. Key attributes, Most athletes who do well in traditional sports, which emphasize strength, speed, and agility, excel physically over their competitors. Esports favors different kinds of skills, focusing on reaction time, motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. Evolution of the game, The majority of sports change very little over time: they use the same equipment and follow the same rules with only minor modifications. Esports, on the other hand, are defined by advances in technology that affect the equipment used and the games themselves. Coaching versus self-coaching, Most collegiate and professional athletes have teams of coaches working with them on strength and conditioning, strategy, and other attributes of their game to help them improve. Esports athletes are generally self-coached with little outside input.
How popular is e sports?
Esports Audience Statistics – There are over 540 million esports viewers globally as of 2023, and it is predicted that this number will reach 640.8 million in 2025. So, what does this rise in viewership mean? In general, it indicates that the love for esports is growing as we speak, and it is not showing any signs of slowing down. For Marketers, it means that they have a new channel to target in their marketing mix. However, it also states they have a larger audience to target inside the eSports business. As a result, eSports marketing will assist companies in expanding their audience and delivering marketing messages through engaging platforms. Here are some latest statistics associated with Esports viewership:
The global e-sports audience size is 540 million as of 2023. In 2020, this number was 435.7 million, meaning that the esports industry has gained over 96 million viewers in that timeframe.
If we talk about the future, it is predicted that the number of Esports viewers will reach 640.8 million by 2025. Here is a table showing the number of Esports viewers globally over the years:
|Year||No. of Esports Viewers|
|2025* (Forecasted)||640.8 million.|
Only 261.2 million viewers out of the 532.1 million are esports enthusiasts. The rest of them are occasional viewers.
Here is a table showing Esports viewers worldwide by type:
|Year||Esports Enthusiasts||Occasional Viewers|
|2020||215.2 million.||220.5 million.|
|2021||240 million.||249.5 million.|
|2022||261.2 million.||270.9 million.|
|2025* (Forecasted)||318.1 million.||322.7 million.|
Although The United States is the second biggest market for Esports, it has only an 8% engagement rate, according to Statista’s data. Here is a table showing the top 15 nations with the highest Esports engagement rate:
This table is a clear indicator of South Asian countries having the highest engagement rate in the world.
More than 60% of e-sports fans are aged between 16 and 35.
Here is a table showing the age distribution of the global Esports audience:
- The average age of conventional sports fans is around 50, whereas esports fans are 26.
- Approximately 50% of the global esports audience watches competitive esports more than once a month.
- Experts expect that by 2025, the Latin American area will have 130 million esports and gaming spectators.
- As per the latest data, the size of the esports audience in Europe is 92 million. This number was just 79 million in 2018.
How big is esports in Europe?
In the eSports market, the number of users is expected to amount to 128.60m users by 2027. User penetration will be 11.9% in 2023 and is expected to hit 15.2% by 2027. The average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to amount to US$4.58.
Is worlds the biggest esports event?
ESL ONE DOTA 2 – Just like the first person shooter Counterstrike, DOTA 2 has garnered a large fanbase in the eSports scene. In 2017, the tournament took place in Hamburg for the first time, but thousands of eSports fans have already gathered in Frankfurt in previous years to cheer on DOTA teams.
- The esports event, endowed with one million dollars, attracted 10,000 people to the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg in 2017: While a variety of games are played in the ESL One and ESL Intel Extreme Masters Tournaments, the LCS only focuses on one game: League of Legends,
- The tournament is run by the game’s own creator: Riot Games.
The tournament is divided into Spring and Summer, meaning grand finals are held twice a year. The World Cup casts a spell over players and spectators around the world. So far the event has been held on three continents. A single World Cup often takes place in different countries and cities:
Jönköping, Sweden (DreamHack 2011) Taipei, Taiwan / Singapore, Republic of Singapore/ Busan, South Korea / Seoul, South Korea (2014) Paris, France / London, Great Britain / Brussels, Belgium / Berlin, Germany (2015) USA: San Francisco / Chicago / New York / Los Angeles (2016) China: Wuhan / Guangzhou / Shanghei / Beijing (2017) South Korea: Seoul / Busan / Gwangju / Incheon (2018)
While there was originally a prize pool of $100,000 for players in Sweden in 2011, the prize pool grew to $4.5 million in China in 2017, But it’s not just the prize pool that’s increasing. The number of spectators also continues to grow. Over 80,000 spectators filled an entire soccer stadium in China where SK Telecom T1 and Samsung Galaxy fought for the title in the final.40 million viewers also followed the event via live stream.
- The International is the world’s largest endowed eSports event, with 25.5 million dollars in prize money at stake in the Dota2 tournament.
- The 1st place finishers Team OG received 11.2 million dollars and the two last place finishers received $63,580 dollars.
- Although the tournament was organised by the game’s developer Valve itself, most of the prize money came from the fans.
Their combined in-game purchases made up the majority of the prize money. In 2018, the promoters paid only 1.6 million by themselves. Because of the enormous prize pool, esports both men and woman are expected to compete in the high-stakes tournament. You can also see this in the short report on the final teams Team Liquid and Newbee at The International 2017: The Esports event is now held mainly in North America, although the foundation was laid in the eSports metropolis of Cologne.
Cologne, Germany (2011) Seattle, USA (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) Vancouver, Canada (2018)
What is the biggest esport sport?
Most popular eSports Games: Which one is it?
|Esports Game||Prize Pool (in millions)||Console/Platform|
|League of Legends||$20.8||PC|
|Counter-Strike: Global Offensive||$27.8||Multi-platform|
Can eSports replace sports?
The future is freemium – In more recent times, there has been a rise in popularity of ‘freemium’ games in the sector, which have very little or no upfront cost to play and then make money on in-game ‘microtransactions’ for weapon skins, character outfits or other cosmetic and gameplay items.
- Such popularity and ease of access has resulted in the game becoming a key component of the esports genre and can be seen as a symptom of freemium games eclipsing their standard priced counterparts in the market.
- However, Kent said the freemium model is a return to form for esports games and arguably the key ingredient to succeeding in the sector.
- He highlights Quake, one of the first esports-like games that helped popularise online multiplayer in the late 1990s, as well as League of Legends which was free to play initially with microtransactions added.
- “Esports became massive in the late-2000s, we saw publishers move into that space and now things have come full circlewith games like Apex Legends free to play from day one with a freemium modelFor esports to be successful, it needs to have a massive audience, and once you have that audience you can monetise it in a number of different ways”.
- He also said that games that are free at outset also allow communities to form around them, another key component for success in esports.
- “People will happily pay money to lock themselves away in a adventurebut if you want people to go and play with other and build a community, that is a different model and one that I think we are seeing in esports again”, he concluded.
: Esports will not replace real-world sport, but its growth could still be a boon for both markets
Is eSports a reality for today’s world of sports?
The future of all sports is esports. That may sound like a bold statement but there is growing evidence to support it. Today’s spectators and participants expect to be digitally engaged while they watch. And the most effective way to deliver digital engagement is through “gamification” – the transformation of watching into playing.
- While the “real” sports world is still far bigger than the competitive esports community, esports is showing supporters a new kind of future.
- A future where experiences make the most of fans’ desire for interactivity within their leisure experiences.
- Today’s consumer does not just want to watch or listen, they also want to participate – and esports integrates these principles into people’s leisure time.
Read more: Will Super Mario ever be an Olympic sport? The latest transformation that is bringing these two worlds even closer together is the creation of new, virtual reality gaming experiences, which are turning esports into physically active experiences.
Virtual reality may just be the technology that unites the two worlds of sports and esports which are, otherwise, struggling to find common ground. While it may take some years to fully realise the impact of esports, the rise of mobile and virtual reality gaming combine to make a tantalising prospect on which to imagine its future.
Consider HADO, a new, two versus two, sports arena-based game consisting of virtual reality battles, Players each wear VR headsets and strap mobile devices to their arms, through which they can see each others’ actions and fling virtual fireballs at each other – a sort of digital version of dodgeball.
- One of the reasons that HADO is so important is that it brings a three-dimensional experience to an esports arena, where otherwise they are played out on flat screens for spectators to watch.
- Sony is even working on a spectator VR system to watch esports in virtual reality.
- The rise of affordable virtual reality headsets, are also kick-starting a new fitness revolution, with pimped-up gymnasia fast becoming virtual reality exercise spaces.
This convergence of high-end gaming technology with physical fitness may be the most compelling way to bring these two worlds together.
Should video games become a sport?
Should video games be considered a sport? – Yes, video games should be considered a sport. Rooted in competition, involving athletic ability, requiring practice and physical activity, taking place in stadiums, and cheered on by diehard fanatics, video games and the playing of them checks all of the required boxes.
What is the fastest growing sport Europe?
Padel vs Pickleball: Can the World’s Fastest-Growing Sports Overtake Tennis? Getty Images “Have we got a serious player here?” asks Andrew Castle, the 59-year-old former No.1 British tennis player and now the BBC’s voice of Wimbledon, looking me up and down. His gaze goes down my Richie Tenenbaum polo shirt and lands on my Veja trainers, which have solid eco credentials and non-marking soles but unmistakable weekend-dad energy, and he winces.
- Hmm, I guess not.” We are at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, west London.
- But we are not here to play tennis.
- Instead, we are limbering up beside a padel court, which is 20 metres long and 10 metres wide, or roughly three-quarters the size of a tennis court.
- It is enclosed at the back with glass and on the sides with glass and mesh.
Padel, which was devised in 1969 in Mexico, borrows some core traits from tennis: you bash a furry ball over a net, and use the same scoring system; and some from squash: the back wall is in play, so long as the ball only bounces on the ground once. Padel, which is said to be the fastest-growing sport in Europe, is almost always played in doubles and I’ve teamed up with my coach (who introduced me to the sport all of 45 minutes ago), James Rose, a tennis lifer who now works for Game4Padel, an ambitious operation backed by Castle, Andy Murray and Liverpool FC’s Virgil van Dijk. Castle covers the base of his Wilson racquet and asks whether the logo reads, “M” or “W”. “M?” I guess. Castle shakes his head, “W, fuck off!” He elects to receive serve and, to everyone’s surprise, Rose and I hustle into a 3-0 lead. At the change of ends, Castle brushes my shoulder and mutters, “I’ve had some tough losses in my career,” perhaps reflecting on the time he went down to Mats Wilander, the No.2 seed, in five sets at Wimbledon in 1986, or defeat in the 1987 Australian Open mixed-doubles final.
Or perhaps not. “But this,” Castle confirms, “would be the most embarrassing.” Still, you don’t reach the last 32 at the 1987 US Open by just rolling over and having your tummy tickled. Castle comes out swinging, or maybe he’s just actually trying for the first time, and starts playing lights-out padel.
He and Newman take four games in a streak to go up 4-3, then 5-4 in our one-set match. When I blaze an ungainly forehand out of the court complex, Castle snorts, “Nice cricket shot!” Truth be told, I was surprised as anyone to be receiving good-natured smack talk from Castle.
- Padel had been sold to me as a social game: less energetic and nerve-shredding than tennis.
- This is a sport where you might find a court-side DJ, and the losing team buys the first round at the bar.
- But as Rose and I — OK, mainly Rose — scrabble to save four match points, it doesn’t feel like that.
- My glasses are steamed up, my hand is sticking to the leather handle of the fibreglass racquet and sweat pools in my socks.
The game goes into a decisive tie-break and another match point comes and goes for Castle and Newman, before Rose and I have one of our own. We make it — I’m not sure how, and frankly I can’t see much out of my glasses — to claim the set and match 7-6.
- It’s not the best day of my life, but is certainly right up in the top five.
- The next day I catch up with Castle for a debrief.
- Funnily enough, I didn’t lose that much sleep over it,” he says with a bark of laughter, when I ask about the five fluffed match points.
- So you can take your self-satisfaction and stick it up your arse.” Our match has given me a glimpse into why padel is on the rise.
The familiar stress points of tennis — duffing your serve into the net, constantly crashing the ball wide or long — are largely removed from padel. The game suits children and older folk, because there’s less court to cover, and allows players of widely diverging abilities to share the same space.
- It would be ludicrous for me to step on a tennis court with Castle, but padel is a leveller.
- Because you tried your backside off, you were involved,” says Castle.
- In tennis, would we have had such a fun game? I doubt it.” For Rose, who first saw padel when he was director of tennis coaching at La Manga Club in Spain, the sport is the perfect combination of being easy to pick up but hard to master.
“You just see people leaving the court smiling and saying, ‘When can I play again?'” says the 44-year-old. “And being a coach all my life, to have that instant reward and reaction is very fulfilling. Because I love sport, ultimately. I’m a sport guy: tennis is my main sport, and I’m now heavily focused and involved in padel.
But ultimately I just love people to get a buzz from sport.” Padel has exploded in Spain, where around five million people play, and also in Argentina, Sweden and the Netherlands. Footballers especially seem to have taken to it: Leo Messi and Zinedine Zidane have courts in their gardens; Zlatan Ibrahimović is an investor in Padel Zenter, which has five centres in Sweden and one planned for Milan this year.
There are courts in the training centres at Manchester City and Liverpool; the latter club recently posted footage of a tense, deftly skilled match between manager Jürgen Klopp and star striker Mo Salah. “Besides football,” an “addicted” Klopp has said, “it’s the best game I’ve ever played.” All of which makes the rush to invest in padel not too surprising. There are currently just over 200 courts in the UK; that number is expected to double this year, according to the Lawn Tennis Association. Some of these new facilities will be in leisure centres, such as the Better Gyms chain, which has plans for more than 20 venues.
- But others will be in less expected places.
- In November last year, Game4Padel dropped a pop-up court in the central atrium of the Westfield shopping centre in west London; over three days, around 250,000 people watched exhibition matches between the Murrays, Andy and Jamie, top British padel players and the likes of TV presenter Jamie Theakston, model Laura Bailey and cricketer Andrew Strauss.
Westfield has a 10-year deal with Game4Padel, and this year they plan to install three permanent courts. The business case for padel starts to look compelling. Sport England calculated that the number of tennis players in England dropped from 889,300 in 2016 to 641,800 in 2021, or a 28 per cent dip in five years.
- Squash had 425,600 players in England in 2016, but only 105,600 in 2021, which, even allowing for the Covid pandemic, is a jaw-dropping haemorrhage of engagement.) “It’s just a really fun game,” Andy Murray, who invested in Game4Padel in 2019, tells Esquire,
- I played recently with my brother Jamie at Westfield and we just had a laugh.
It’s still pretty competitive but, because it can be quite fast-paced, and you are all close together on the court, it makes it more sociable.” At the National Tennis Centre, I ask Andrew Castle if tennis — and squash — should be concerned about the growth of padel.
- Tennis has got a hundred-year head start, and that’s pretty powerful,” he replies.
- But worrying about padel is a bit like worrying about water flowing downhill.
- Anybody who’s worried about whether or not padel is happening is a little behind the times.
- Because, by the way, it’s happening.” In the US, the same conversations are taking place about an existential threat to tennis.
But the tennis-adjacent disruptor sport over there isn’t padel, it’s pickleball. Around five million Americans are estimated to play the game, and these include George and Amal Clooney, who have a court at their home in Los Angeles. Kim and Khloe Kardashian played a match in a 2019 episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and Larry David admitted enjoying a game on Curb Your Enthusiasm (his wife, Ashley Underwood, is making a documentary about the sport).
At a charity tournament last November, Emma Watson teamed up with Sugar Ray Leonard — “I had, honestly, the best day of my life,” Watson said afterwards — while in the same month, Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx launched a range of racquets, the Best Paddle. His first customers? Will Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Pickleball and padel share some similarities, not least in their origin stories. Pickleball was born in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, the invention of three dads: future US congressman Joel Pritchard and businessmen Barney McCallum and Bill Bell, who came home after a game of golf and found their families climbing the walls.
- Pritchard’s garden had a badminton court, but no kit, so the men and their kids started hitting a perforated plastic ball over the net with ping-pong bats.
- The following weekend, they lowered the net to roughly the height of a tennis net and over time they introduced custom paddles.
- The name of the new game, coined by Pritchard’s wife, is usually understood as a reference to “pickle boats”: a sailing term for the last boat to finish a race, and a nod to the tossed-together basics of the new sport.
Or it might be that the Pritchards had a dog called “Pickle” who liked to chase the ball — no one exactly remembers. Pickleball became popular among a small Pacific Northwest elite; one of the early acolytes, in fact, was a young Bill Gates. Padel’s origins were equally rarefied. The game was devised by a Mexican industrialist, Enrique Corcuera, who didn’t have quite enough space in the grounds of his holiday home in Acapulco for a tennis court, so squashed one in a space that had walls at both ends.
- In 1974, Alfonso de Hohenlohe-Langenburg, a Spanish prince, visited Corcuera and liked the game so much that he took it home to his private club in Marbella.
- The Spanish tennis great Manuel Santana was an early ambassador of padel, but like pickleball, it remained a niche hobby for decades after its invention.
That changed in the Covid pandemic, as both sports saw their ranks swell dramatically in many places during the widespread lockdowns. Part of this growth was practical: padel and pickleball tend to be played outdoors, and involve no physical contact, so didn’t receive the strictures that other sports such as football, basketball and swimming had.
Manu Martin, a Spanish padel player and coach with a strong social-media presence, found himself becoming an influencer in the Covid era: he now has 185,000 followers on Instagram. “It sounds bad, but the pandemic was good for padel in Spain, in Europe and in many countries,” says Martin. “One reason is that, once you have tried padel for one time, then you’re in love with the sport.
“And the second thing is about the business,” he goes on. “In one tennis court, you can install three padel courts. In tennis, people play one versus one, so if you’re a manager of a club, you’ll be earning money from two people. But if you have three padel courts, you have 12 people playing, paying and drinking beer in the cafeteria after the match.
This is very common, at least in Spain and the Mediterranean: after padel, you drink beer. So as a business, it’s more interesting than tennis. And when people put money into a new sport, that’s when it begins to grow up.” Pickleball has a crucial advantage over padel, though, in its capacity to expand as a sport: padel courts need to be purpose-built, and with the playing surface, glass and lighting, can cost up to £25,000; pickleball courts, meanwhile, can simply fit on an existing tennis court with new, taped lines.
The racquets are typically cheaper for pickleball — though not if you want one of Jamie Foxx’s — and are usually more durable than padel bats. (At the top end, consider a sleek black Prada padel racquet, which costs £1,500, and the accompanying ball case, £320.) But the fact that pickleball can so easily take over tennis courts has also led to considerable beef with the paterfamilias of racquet sports in the US.
In response to a social-media post about “The Great Tennis v Pickleball War of 2022”, the tennis legend Martina Navratilova wrote on Twitter: “I say if pickleball is that popular let them build their own courts.” Navratilova added a little smiley symbol in the hope of avoiding the wrath of five million evangelical picklers, but the tenor of the debate has been turning nasty.
In 2021, five litres of oil were poured on pickle-ball courts in Santa Rosa, California, along with a note threatening to scratch the cars of the pickleball players. In Brooklyn, a pair of pro-tennis, anti-pickleball enthusiasts started a group and Substack called Club Leftist Tennis with an introductory manifesto titled “Against Pickleball”. It’s not hard to find voices in the US sniping against pickleball. For some, it’s like kale: a fad with “a good publicist”; elsewhere, it has been compared to NFTs and cryptocurrency. The really sour critiques say it is like tennis, just for people who don’t have much co-ordination.
- But, right now, these complaints — some of which could also be levelled at padel — are being drowned out by the acolytes.
- There is special dismay that the Tennis Channel in the US has started showing professional pickleball matches, including — sacrilegiously — on the day that Roger Federer announced his retirement from tennis.
This year also sees the first edition of Major League Pickleball, a competition between 12 teams and 48 athletes, with a prize money of $5m. The list of team owners and investors is wild: among them LeBron James, Heidi Klum and Michael Phelps, as well as tennis stars Nick Kyrgios and Naomi Osaka.
The DC Pickleball Team is bankrolled by an especially eclectic group that includes Desperate Housewives ‘ Eva Longoria, footballer Mesut Özil and model Kate Upton; their first pick in the draft was Sam Querrey, a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2017. Last year, Noah Rubin, a 26-year-old American player who won Junior Wimbledon in 2014, also defected to pickleball.
On hearing the news, the matriarch of British tennis Judy Murray wrote on Twitter, “Watch out tennis. Pickleball is coming for you” Steve Kuhn, a billionaire former hedge-fund manager who founded Major League Pickleball, has also announced the “40 by 30 Project”: an initiative to have 40 million people playing the sport by 2030. “It may sound like hyperbole,” Kuhn noted at the launch in October 2022, “but I really believe pickleball can save this country, and maybe even the world.” Pickleball is not quite ready to “save” the UK yet, with estimates of around 5,000 regular players.
- To this end, when I contact Pickleball England to ask if they can fix me up with a game, I’m quickly paired with 27-year-old Louis Laville, who happens to be the No.1 player in all of Europe.
- We meet at the Roehampton Club, a private members’ sports club in London that is, as it happens, just round a leafy corner from the National Tennis Centre, where Laville works as the golf and games manager until pickleball can start paying the bills.
“I see it as a hobby,” he says. “Because until you can make it as a career, it’s essentially a hobby.” Laville was turned on to pickleball five years ago by his mother, after she saw people playing it on holiday in Florida. He tried it, liked it, and found a group of like-minded souls in Epsom, Surrey and then west London to practise with.
- Today, he has arranged a doubles match with two of his colleagues at the Roehampton Club: Dan Lott, the racquets director, and Ollie Sunda, who works in events.
- The court is half an indoor tennis court that Laville spends 10 minutes marking out with electrical tape.
- Pickleball, you quickly learn, is all about the “dink”.
The evil twin of tennis’s drop shot, the dink is lethal in pickleball because on either side of the net there is a “no-volley zone” (aka “the kitchen”), which extends a little more than two metres each side of the net. A perfect dink will dip into the no-volley zone, bounce low, leaving your opponent with little option but to float up a looping return, giving you an easy put-away.
- Of course, mis-hit your dink and you will dump the ball into the net or dish up a straightforward smash.
- In padel, the dink would not be a good tactic, because players can lurch as close to the net as they want; instead, a perfectly executed lob that lands where the court meets the glass is pretty well unreturnable.) For me, pickleball felt closer to playing a traditional game of tennis than padel did.
Weight of shot is important, because you don’t have padel’s back wall to help you out, and a player with tight volleying skills — such as Laville — is lethal in pickleball. With Laville pouncing on any loose shots, we take the first set against Lott and Sunda.
The rules take a bit of getting used to: only the serving team can score a point and the game is played to 11; the victorious pair must win by a clear two points. But in the second set, my dink game goes awry and I offer up too many easy smashes to Lott and Sunda. The match ends one set apiece. Afterwards, we have a debrief on where pickle-ball and padel are heading.
The Roehampton Club, where we played, has always been a tennis hotspot: it has 30 courts, both indoor and outdoor, all different surfaces; players tuning up for Wimbledon have been known to practise here. But the club has already started diversifying its offering: it recently added two padel courts, and Laville gives pickleball taster sessions for members.
- It’s good that you’ve got two sports that are supplementing tennis because in recent years tennis has started struggling a little bit,” says Laville.
- I don’t want to say it’s a declining sport, but the reason padel and pickle are growing so popular is because people are con-verting from it.” And pickleball is gaining traction in the UK: it is now offered at 45 David Lloyd Clubs, mostly on repurposed badminton courts.
For Laville and Lott, the racquets director, it simply comes down to demand. “In the next few years, a club that has four tennis courts might reassign one of those courts and have one pickle, one padel, as another offering for the members,” suggests Lott.
- The threat to tennis and squash is obvious, but are padel and pickleball also competing against each other? Are they locked in a winner-takes-all duel? Laville doesn’t think so.
- You’ll see both really grow in the next few years,” he says.
- I’m biased, but I think pickleball may, long-term, do better, just because it’s much easier to get started, and you don’t need a purpose-built court.” What might be decisive, in the next decade, is whether either of these upstart sports receives the Olympic nod.
Padel, with its global reach, seems to have the advantage over the more US-centric pickleball. To fulfil the Olympic criteria, a sport has to have 75 national federations: padel hopes to have the numbers by the Brisbane games in 2032. “If padel could get in the Olympics, that’s a big moment,” says Andrew Castle.
“Because that means there would be state funding in China, perhaps — and I was going to say Russia, but we won’t even mention them sonofabitches.” Will we one day see padel’s Roger Federer? The Serena of pickleball? Professional padel matches have already been screened on Sky and BT Sport in the UK.
Last year, the Premier Padel Tour received major investment from Qatar Sports Investments, the company chaired by the president and CEO of Paris Saint-Germain, Nasser Al-Khelaifi. His plan is to introduce eye-catching prize money and an annual schedule of 25 tournaments, with four grand slams.
- The world has only seen the tip of the iceberg of what the sport of padel can achieve on the global stage,” said Al-Khelaifi, who briefly had a tennis career, reaching a top ranking of 1,040 in 1993.
- For now, tennis is keeping an eye on its precocious younger siblings.
- At the moment, it’s still strong enough to bully them if the fight becomes physical, but padel and pickleball are growing up fast.
And, as for squash, it may be too late. “Most of the tennis players I know play padel and enjoy it but they wouldn’t give up tennis for padel,” says Andy Murray. “I think the two sports can sit side by side. Padel is a great way for people to start racquet sports because it’s so easy to learn, but the beauty of tennis is the technicality of the game.
What is the fastest growing sport on earth?
A hybrid of badminton, pingpong and tennis, it was the fastest-growing sport in the country from 2019 to 2021, according to an industry group that tracks sport participation. Wendy Siegel had never played a sport in her life.
What is the hottest growing sport?
Hermitage park ready for players of ‘fastest-growing sport’ HERMITAGE, Pa. (WKBN) – Buhl Park has America’s only free 9-hole golf course. It has another place to enjoy on a good weather day. The pickleball courts opened Wednesday for another season. Six blue and green courts sit right next to the golf course and driving range.
- Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the USA.
- These courts were installed in late 2019, and this is the fourth season they will be used.
- The sport is easy to learn and easy to enjoy.
- Buhl Park hosts players from beginner to advanced levels.
- It’s great to have them in this area.
- We play with friends.
You have exercise, and it’s great to have these courts here. It’s fun, said Lois Titus. A new, dotted line was added to the courts for singles play. Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
What is more popular video games or sports?
Video game industry bigger than sports, movies combined: report Getty Images The video game industry has grown to be bigger than the sports and movie industry combined, Tuesday. The news outlet reported that global video game revenue is expected to increase 20 percent in 2020, making $179.7 billion, according to data from IDC.
The biggest gain is expected to come from mobile gaming, according to the news outlet, which is expected to surge 24 percent to $87.7 billion. Part of this is due to China recently lifting a ban on gaming consoles. Game console revenue is expected to soar to $52.5 billion this year, while PC and Mac games are expected to make $39.5 billion.
The news outlet notes that revenue for PC-gaming took a hit due to the closure of popular iCafes in China due to the coronavirus pandemic. The growth in the video game industry follows single-digit growth in the previous two years. Experts told the news outlet that the growth will continue into 2021 after Sony and Microsoft introduced new gaming consoles.
Meanwhile, the global film industry, which has taken a hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, brought in $100 billion in revenue in 2019 for the first time, Variety, And MarketWatch notes that the global sports industry, which has also experienced hardship due to the pandemic, is estimated to bring in more than $75 billion this year.
Tags Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. : Video game industry bigger than sports, movies combined: report
What percent of people play esports?
US Sepcific Esports Audience Statistics – The USA is a huge market for Esports. Knowing the market-specific statistics will help marketers to get a clearer picture of the Esports scene in the USA.
As per Statista, only 9% of US citizens are avid lovers of Esports, while 19% are casual fans. The majority of respondents of the survey (72%) said they weren’t a fan.
If we narrow down the statistics, we get the data for the level of interest based on gender. While 15% of the US males say that they are avid fans of Esports, only 3% of females said the same. Here is a table showing the level of interest of the US audience in Esports by gender:
|Level of Interest||Males||Females|
|Not a Fan||59%||85%|
Here is a table showing the Increase in interest in eSports since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic among eSports fans in the United States by age:
|Age Group||Share of Respondents|
|17 and under||63.1%|
|45 and Up||31.6%|
Sources: Juniper Research, Statista, Infront,
How popular is esports?
There are an estimated 234 million Esports enthusiasts ( VentureBeat ) – Esports audience size has grown year-over-year between 2019 and 2021. In 2019, there were an estimated 197 million Esports enthusiasts. And a further 200.8 million occasional Esports viewers.
Is considered as the world most popular sports?
1. Soccer – Fans: 3.5 billion With 3.5 billion fans around the world, soccer is the one sport that pretty much the whole world can agree upon can be claimed the most viewed sports in the world. With its combination of adrenaline-pumping excitement, man-on-man aggression, tough competition, it’s really no wonder it comes on top.
- Soccer is worth astronomical sums of money to different leagues around the world through television rights as its leagues boast more TV viewers than any other sports leagues, and its flagship event, the World Cup, outshines every other major event without question.
- Thanks to Pledge Sports for sharing this list with us.
Check out their ever expanding range of crowd funding options, _ Find out more about our next major event looking at the impact of in September 2017. _ : The World’s Most Watched Sports