Report Overview

eSports and 5G – can telcos cash in…

The value of the eSports market is growing rapidly with both viewers and the prize money at stake beginning to rival that of traditional sports.
With 5G’s ultra-fast data speeds and minimal latencies, there is an opportunity for telcos to carve a piece of this growing market.
eSports could therefore emerge as an important use case as telcos look at extracting a revenue premium from their 5G networks.
eSports or electronic sports commonly refers to multi-player video games played competitively. Fans can watch professional gamers compete or play themselves. Professional level gamers compete in tournaments, which are hosted at arenas or stadiums in front of a live audience. Games are often broadcast live and many more global eSports fans watch these tournaments remotely by streaming them online. Some of the most notable tournaments include League of Legends, The International, Evolution Championship Series and the Intel Extreme Masters. Most major competitions are generally held in South Korea, Europe, USA and China however eSports tournaments are starting to gain traction across the globe.
In the past few years, eSports has seen significant changes from being played in small groups, to occupying world-class stadiums which accommodate tens of thousands of fans, with many more viewers online. The value of the eSports market is growing rapidly with both viewers and the prize money at stake rivalling that of traditional sports.
As the first digitally-native sport, eSports is primarily streamed online and is most popular with younger male audiences. With similar properties to traditional sport, the opportunity to engage with these hard-to-reach millennials is appealing to advertisers, traditional broadcasters and traditional sports teams alike. But while eSports viewership is growing, Australian broadcasters have had limited success which has left the door open for Australian telcos to enter this space. Furthermore, the rise of 5G could alter the eSports landscape with higher data speeds, lower latencies and next gen AR and VR gaming platforms. Venture Insights conducted a mobile consumer survey focused on consumers and their eSports viewing and playing habits. In this report, we look at the results from our survey, why and how 5G could play a role in the rise of eSports, the role that telcos could play and global trends on 5G and eSports.


Key takeaways


The appeal of eSports

  • The audience opportunity
  • Social Engagement Factor
  • Complimentary to traditional live sports

Network infrastructure can make or break eSports

  • 5G can complement existing infrastructure

Survey results

  • Most frequently used eSports platform in Australia
  • eSports – frequency of viewership
  • eSports and 5G
  • Will 5G help Australian Telcos to tap into the eSports opportunity?


List of charts/tables

Figure 1. Global Revenue and Audience Growth 2016 – 2021

Figure 2. eSports most popular platform for viewing

Figure 3. Daily viewing minutes – eSports

Figure 4. eSports viewership is growing [Q. On average are you:]

Figure 5. eSports viewers willingness to pay a premium for 5G enabled mobile service

Figure 6. eSports viewers that would consider upgrading their mobile plan and smartphone to 5G when it becomes available

Figure 7. eSports viewers that would be willing to pay a premium for a 5G handset