If you didn't think eSports was serious business before, it's about time you wised up.
Valve has informed IGN that over 20 million people tuned in to watch The International 4 Dota 2 tournament. At its peak, over 2 million people were watching concurrently. What's more: this number doesn't include the people watching on ESPN, MTG Europe, or CCTV China TV.
That is a truly insane number. Truly insane.
But I wondered how that number compared to other sports broadcasts. eSports is obviously becoming less niche, but it's still definitely a niche.
- For example, 4 million people concurrently watched the first State of Origin match in Australia this year. - A very similar number of Australians watched the 2005 Australian Open final (featuring Leyton Hewitt). - A whopping 750 million people watched the 2006 World Cup final in 2006. - The 2011 Cricket World Cup final between India and Pakistan was reported to have 1 billion people watching. Incredible.
The Olympics, however, represents — by far — the most watched sporting event on the planet, probably because it goes on for a sustained two week period and covers multiple different types of sport. Nielsen estimates that 4.7 billion people — 70% of the world's population — watched some coverage of the Olympics.
But still — there's no way we could expect a video game to compete with such established sports, but it's incredible to see how rapidly eSports is developing. Is this the peak? I'm not sure, I think it can evolve further, but those numbers are incredible regardless.