India’s esports industry to be worth Rs 11 billion by 2025: Report

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Esports, a recognised sport in USA, China, Germany, South Korea and Sri Lanka, is on the rise in India. Investors are making a beeline sensing the growing user base in India. This sentiment is what has been precisely captured by Ernst & Young in its esports report titled ‘Ready. Set. Game ON!’. According to it, the esports industry in India is expected to grow at a 46 per cent CAGR to grow from Rs 2.5 billion in 2021 to Rs 11 billion by financial year 2025.

“The esports industry in India is highly fragmented and undocumented, making the term open to various interpretations. Esports is a sport, requiring competitive game play, a tournament and / or league format and use of skill, most often physical skill. As the popularity and frequency of esports tournaments grow, esports is often confused with online gaming. The need for an electronic device and online multiplayer game fuels the misnomer. However, esports is not online gaming. Unlike online gaming, esports is defined by online games of skill that are played in tournaments – different teams and individuals playing against each other to win the championship / league / title like physical sports. Esports also includes games which are the digital/virtual manifestations of traditional sports,” says the report clarifying the difference.

Esports is fuelled by a prize pool which is expected to reach Rs1 billion by FY2025, and it is not the same as online gaming. IPL, an Indian sports league with highest prize pool in the country, offered Rs250 million in its prize pool for the tournament. Esports came second at Rs150 million.

Today, it is estimated that India has 150,000 players and around 60,000 teams. Over 90 per cent esports players participate in online mobile esports tournaments. India has 150,000 players and around 60,000 teams, over 90 per cent esports players participate in online mobile esports tournaments. As esports becomes a viable profession for the youth, the number of players playing esports is expected to reach 1.5 million by FY2025.

There are over 14 esports broadcast platforms in 2020 which are expected to cross 20 platforms by 2025. While current viewership is 17 million, over 85 million unique viewers will watch esports tournaments in the country by 2025.8 This will comprise around 10 per cent of global esports viewership. Viewership across multiple streaming platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitch and other OTT platforms will collectively measure much higher.

As esports tournaments grow more competitive, they draw more viewership and support from players and the audience. For instance, the PUBG Mobile World League 2020 East was the last big tournament of the Asian continent. The Hindi-language broadcast of the same attracted 449 thousand peak viewers, which has been the highest record so far.

Over 50 brands, including prominent national brands like Airtel,, Flipkart, Monster Energy Drinks, Asus, Redbull and Yes Bank have forayed into the esports industry over the past few years. While it is still at a nascent stage, its constantly growing audience base makes esports a growing favourite amongst brands and advertisers.

Streaming platforms will generate the largest chunk of esport revenues. As esports grows popular amongst youth and the affluent, advertisers and agencies are expected to increasingly use esports tournament viewership to gain reach and engagement with the audience, growing over 4x to Rs 6.5 billion by FY25. Eventually, the industry could explore subscription revenue models. Tournament sponsorship and syndication revenue would likely quadruple to more than Rs 3.5 billion CAGR growing at a CAGR of 45 per cent.

Esports industry in India would generate an economic impact of Rs100 billion between FY2021 and FY2025 through investments, direct industry revenues, in-app purchases and other revenues. Esports received nearly Rs13 billion investments in the past five years and would likely see another Rs 34 billion by FY2025.

The esports industry will create over 11,000 direct and indirect jobs, including for game development and events by FY20225. The esports industry also creates opportunities in the field of event management, ethical and legislative laws, game design, esports marketing and league management.