Bloomberg Línea — eSports have experienced exponential growth in popularity and viewership, especially with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, the number of players worldwide will reach 3.38 billion in 2023, a year-on-year increase of 6.3%, according to the data analysis platform Newzoo. Among them, 335 million are from Latin America.
One particularity of eSports is that they have attracted the attention of celebrities and major companies, leading to significant investments in this sector. Currently, there are professional leagues, teams, sponsors, and specialized media dedicated to eSports, creating an entire industry in itself.
Latin America is no exception, and personalities from the worlds of football and entertainment have fully embraced this business by establishing their own teams.
According to Newzoo, the region has become the third-largest in the world in terms of the number of players. However, this market, even though it has attracted the attention of developers and companies from around the world, still falls short of the global average.
According to the report “Digital payments connecting businesses and people in rising economies: An overview of online commerce in Latin America and Africa,” while the global average spending on video games reaches $68, in Latin America, it drops to $28.
This is because in the region, more than 70% of gamers prefer free-to-play video games, as the purchase of physical or online games is not widespread.
However, according to Newzoo, it is expected that Latin America will have an audience of more than 325 million players by 2024, representing a 20% growth, along with 122 million spectators.When broken down by country, the influence of Mexico and Brazil stands out, with Mexico leading in consumption at around 53.5% in 2022 and being a significant creator and exporter of its own content, with more than 120 studios dedicated to developing this pastime.
As for viewership, Brazil dominates both within and outside the region, as it is the Latin American market with the most professional players, and its revenue reached $20 million, surpassed only by Mexico with $22 million.
From the Field to the Console
According to a survey conducted by the gaming equipment brand HyperX, 79.6% of gamers have the desire to enter the world of eSports.
Among them, 78.5% aspire to become professional players, 7.1% aim to establish their own team, and 4.9% wish to take on the role of a coach.Within this pool of aspiring individuals looking to enter the increasingly competitive eSports industry, some names stand out who have shined or continue to shine on the world’s football pitches.
In Argentina, former footballer Kun Agüero, with KRÜ esports, and tennis player Diego “el Peque” Schwartzman, with his team Stone Movistar Esports, serve as examples of the interest in these types of investments.Kun Agüero has nearly 5 million followers on the Twitch platform and is one of the athletes with the highest worldwide audience. With his VALORANT team, he has become one of the most recognized squads globally.
“With KRÜ, we’ve made history in VALORANT, and we’re very pleased with what we’ve achieved, which motivates us to aim for more. This marks our third year as a club, and we’re working diligently to stand shoulder to shoulder with the world’s top teams,” Kun Agüero expressed in a press release.
KRÜ is a professional team based in Buenos Aires, with offices in Barcelona and Los Angeles. Just a few weeks ago, they launched their membership program in collaboration with La Founders Season by FITCHIN, the global platform for gaming communities and the team’s official partner.
Meanwhile, Schwartzman has a gaming academy comprising eSports professionals who assist in improving VALORANT tactics and growing within the industry.
Within the Latin industry, we also find Reta Esports, co-owned by Raúl Jiménez and Jesús Manuel ‘Tecatito’ Corona, Mexican footballers who partnered with Édgar Gómez and Emiliano Melo. They have a Gaming House in Puebla and this year announced their first VALORANT roster to participate in the Closed Qualifier.
The dream of their own team, which began during the pandemic, includes plans to venture into FIFA later on, with a “step by step” approach as their guiding principle.Another Mexican footballer, Miguel Layún, teamed up with sports journalist Rodolfo Landeros to enter the market with the brand 19esports in 2020. Their goal was to join the Spanish-speaking competitive scene and expand into various gaming areas.
“We continue to grow alongside our content creators and professional players in Clash Royale, PUBG Mobile, Free Fire, and FIFA,” the entrepreneurs state on their social media platforms.
Brazilian soccer player Casemiro owns Case Esport, a team that plays several games, included the popular soccer game FIFA.
Emiliano Rigoni, Argentine footballer, currently playing for Austin Football Club, in the United States, is the CEO of Velox. The e-sport team has a Latin American Counter Strike squad that competes in some of the best competitions in Argentina and the region, such as the Unity League Flow and the Fire League, it also has a Sim Racing and FIFA 22 squad.
The chosen ones
With 53.6%, the HyperX survey revealed a preference for “shooter” games in the region. “Battle Royale” is next in preference, with 13.6%. These are survival games where everyone faces each other.
Adventure video games occupy third place in preferences, with 10.9%, followed by racing games with 4.5% and role-playing games with 4.3%.
But when it comes to games, the most popular in the region are “Fortnite” (15.7%), “League of Legends” (12.6%), “Counter Strike” (6.6%), “Valorant” (5.2%) “Call of Duty: Warzone” (3.6%) and “Minecraft” (2.6%). That is why the tournaments and competitions of these video games are the ones with the largest audience.
In terms of platforms, content consumption is most popular on Twitch with 54.6%, followed by YouTube with 29.6% and Facebook with 12.1%.