- COVID-19 supercharged the esports revolution, as millions began watching gamers compete from home.
- The industry has been championed by celebrity superstars like Michael Jordan and Drake.
- Insider asked VCs to name the hottest European esports startups to watch for in 2021.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
As COVID-19 saw real-life sporting events shut down, the esports industry continued to grow, as millions tuned in to online events from home.
Global investors, brands, and media outlets are all paying attention. Insider Intelligence estimates there will be more than 26 million monthly esports viewers by the end of 2021, up 11.4% on the previous year.
The shift has been powered in part by mainstream celebrities such as Michael Jordan, Drake, and Marshmello, who have championed the industry, increasing coverage from traditional outlets like ESPN, and the breakneck rise of Fortnite.
The industry isn’t the most gender-diverse — with women making up just 16% of execs at top gaming companies, according to a report from the esports organization Fnatic. Insider recently compiled a list of the top 23 women in gaming, esports, and streaming.
Esports is steadily gaining popularity and revenue in Europe, with FIFA, League of Legends, and Call of Duty among the most popular titles, and it could be worth $800 million by 2023, according to analysis by Deloitte.
Insider asked venture capitalists in Europe to each name two esports companies each that they think will blow up. Check them out below: