2.3 - Viewership Ecosphere

What is the Game Viewership Ecosphere?

Currently the top gaming channel on YouTube is dominated by PewDiePie who touts an astounding 110M subscribers (and growing). PewDiePie also rakes in millions of video views per week and all that viewership and activity rolls up to him earning about $15M/year in revenue. Not bad for a gamer, right?

Another the top non-developer channels on Twitch is controlled by Tyler Blevins, who goes by the gamer tag "Ninja". Ninja has nearly 24.1 million followers as of mid-September 2021. Every week, his channel serves up the more than 500 years' worth of cumulative viewing time to an average of 85,000 simultaneous viewers at any given time. Ninja has featured pop culture superstars such as Drake on his stream over the past few months, and reportedly earns more than $500,000 each month, much of it derived from paying subscribers to his Twitch channel.

Hundreds of millions of dollars now change hands at the top level of Esports. Multiple Esports streaming platforms, particularly those targeting the Chinese market, have recently raised tens or hundreds of millions of dollars apiece from investors. China's Tencent Holdings, a major game and software developer and the publisher of Esports juggernaut League of Legends, is the most committed corporate player in the Esports game, with $1.66 billion invested in Esports-centric companies, not counting its minority ownership stakes in Activision Blizzard and Fortnite developer Epic Games. Tencent also has a five-year Esports plan that will see the company invest up to $15 billion in China’s Esports market by 2022.

Blizzard Entertainment, the California developer of Esports mainstays Starcraft, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Overwatch, launched its Overwatch League(OWL) in 2018. Rights to OWL's 12 founding teams sold for $20 million apiece last year to people like New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Los Angeles Rams and Denver Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke. OWL's popularity prompted Blizzard to expand the league before its first season had even ended. New OWL team slots have been offered and purchased over the past few months for $30 million to $60 million a piece.

Many top Esports teams compete in multiple leagues. The leading North American Esports organizations were recently valued in the $160 million to $200 million range, according to recent ESPN (no current affiliation with ESTN) reports.

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