2020 was not the best year for esports revenue, as it declined for the first time since data became available a decade ago, JLL reported. The dip was likely temporary, as 2021 is on pace for a record year with total industry revenue over $1 billion for the first time.
The largest driver of revenue for esports is corporate sponsorships — also a large contributor for professional sports leagues. Sponsors — which in the past have included Mountain Dew, Red Bull and video game companies themselves — support teams and venues and host events and competitions. Though ticket and merchandise sales decreased 37% from 2019 to 2020, the return of in-person events could contribute to growth in 2021 and beyond, the report notes.