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According to PwC, in 2019 the Russian esports market value reached $28.6 million USD, while the compound average growth rate until 2024, according to the forecasts, will be 14.9%, which makes this segment the fastest growing one in the whole video game industry.
Moscow is the main esports tournament center in the country, which keeps demonstrating its desire and abilities to support large international competitions by means of its developed infrastructure, funding, and, above all, a huge number of fans. For instance, one of the most spectacular Dota 2 tournaments that took place in Moscow, Epicenter Major 2019 with a total prize pool of $1,000,000 USD, gathered 202 thousand viewers and counted nearly 2.4 million hours of live stream viewing. Moscow also hosted BLAST Pro Series, a large CS: GO tournament, with a total prize pool of $250,000 USD. In 2019, such big events earned for the ticket sale segment 2,3 million USD, which is 38.9% more than the level of the previous year.
Unfortunately, in 2020 such large tournaments as Dota 2 – Epicenter Major were canceled in Russia because of the pandemic, while Moscow BLAST Premier Spring Series 2020 for CS:GO (Spring Final) was held online. By the way, according to Esports Earnings, Russia takes 7th place by prize winnings among the strongest esports countries of the world: there are 3,837 professional esportsmen in Russia, and the amount of money won for all time exceeds $31 million USD.
However, the main income stream in esports comes from sponsorship of esports clubs, tournaments, and gamers. The share of this segment in 2019 was 62.8% of the entire esports market, or $18 million USD by value.
It can be seen how businesses are getting more and more interested in integration with esports disciplines, with little to no format limitations, from advertising brands that are popular among esportsmen to arena branding or integration into a tournament. So, for example, in 2019 MegaFon and ESforce Holding won an advertising and marketing award by Effie Russia in the Sponsorship category, while an automotive marque Haval entered into an agreement with an esports club Virtus.pro, under terms of which the marque will support a team of Dota 2 players.
In opposition to allegations, the pandemic did not ruin the industry, but even roused the market and increased the audience of viewers and gamers. Esports is at the intersection of as many as two directions that received a boost with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic: various technological services and systems as such and entertaining content that can be consumed from the comfort of your home. Moreover, as the video game market demonstrated a general significant growth on lockdown, human desire to watch such contests has been nourished, too.
There are such sponsors of esports competitions and teams as Coca-Cola, BMW, Gillette, Nike, Louis Vuitton, Kia Motors, and Xiaomi.
In 2020, the esports audience in Russia increased by 28%, as compared to a year before, having reached 15.4 million people aged 13+, as told in a study by Nielsen Sports. According to the study, there are 64% men and 36% women among esports fans, with an average income of 41,700 rubles per capita. At year-end 2020, analysts note a large jump in the percentage of fans: one-quarter of the fans interrogated began following esports matches during the last year, with women equal to 54% of them.
As for age preferences, 20% of the Russian esports audience are minors aged 13-17, a bit more than one-third (35%) is youth aged 18-24, and people aged 25-34 are little less than them (31%). Adults aged 35-40 amount to 12% of the audience.
At that, a particularly strong tendency during the pandemic, peculiar to Russia, was active growth of the female audience.
We would also like to note the popularity of the Russian language in esports content on the streaming platform Twitch, which focuses on games, including streams of esports tournaments. You can find the top list of the best Russian streamers in our blog 2021 Best Streamers Ranking on the Russian Internet.
If you are interested in game promotion in the Russian market, experts of the RMAA Games marketing agency will help you elaborate and implement a strategy to gain the affection of Russian gamers.
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About the Author
Head of Digital, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog