According to the UBM Game Network Report, in 2015, 79% of developers saw a ‘bright and sustainable future’ for the eSports industry. In their most recent (2016) report, this figure has already risen to 88%. Revenue growth is astonishing also, with reported $325 million in 2015 and expected to rise to $463 million in 2016 and then $1.1 billion by 2019.
This heightened interest has also been reflected recently by the industry as 3 major deals:
Activision Acquired Major League Gaming (MLG)
MLG is the largest eSports focused network in North America, and in early January 2016, Activision snapped it up for around $46 million. Activision’s goal is to become the ESPN of the eSports industry. Activision’s CEO Bobby Kotick said "MLG’s ability to create premium content, its proven broadcast technology platform – including its live streaming capabilities – strengthens our strategic position in competitive gaming. MLG has an incredibly strong and seasoned team and a thriving community."
ESPN Launches Its Own eSports Section
ESPN are not going to give up their title without a match, and a few weeks later in 2016 they launched an eSports section to their website in an attempt to connect with the rapidly growing fan base.
In a press release, Chad Millman, the Editor-In-Chief of ESPN’s website and magazines said "Fans will find the same level of quality content and journalism that users of ESPN.com have come to expect, including in-depth looks at the competitive gaming world and on-site reporting from the major tournaments.”
TBS, a major cable network in America have also joined in the heist by partnering with WME | IMG (a talent agency who represent the NFL) to create televised eSport coverage. To kick off the network will host two 10 week seasons of ‘Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’. TBS’s President, Kevin Reilly said "The level of rabid fandom and engagement that we see in this world is extraordinary and we aim to up the experience for both the players and fans alike and provide a cutting-edge live experience on both linear and digital TBS platforms."