The history behind a $5 billion eSports industry

According to a Activate’s recent Tech & Media Outlook for 2017, annual revenue for eSports is projected to exceed $5 billion by 2020. For comparison, that’s more than the National Hockey League’s (NHL) $3.7 billion in average revenue and the $4.8 billion from the National Basketball Association (NBA). eSports events are filling existing sports stadiums, including KeyArena in Seattle, STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and SAP Center in San Jose. These are arenas that house professional sports teams like the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers and Kings. Tens of thousands of people and arenas dedicated to eSports are starting to pop up everywhere.

While the entrance of eSports into the mainstream – including broadcasts on large media networks such as ESPN, TBS and Yahoo! – may seem recent, eSports have been around for more than four decades. In order to understand eSports, it’s important to learn the history surrounding this industry and why this surge has been in the making for a long time.

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