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New research gives us insight into exactly how they spend that money.

2 minute read

The eSports universe — where video game code is the new arena field turf — is financed partly by fans who are putting an average $566 each year into it.

Loan marketplace LendEDU asked eSports fans about their spending habits and found that a majority (62 percent) is paying for it. But which products — from event tickets to streaming service subscriptions — do they spend most on?

What eSports fans pay for

LendEDU’s research gives us an idea of the most popular markets…

  • 86 percent of paying fans buy eSports merchandise
  • 83 percent pay for a subscription to streaming services like the popular Twitch
  • 79 percent say they pay for event tickets, where they can watch gamers play live
  • 75 percent say they gamble on eSports, a universe projected to become a $900 million industry this year, according to the Washington Post.
  • 50 percent donate to their favorite players — consider Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins, who says he rakes in $500,000 a month playing megahit game Fortnite, according to CNBC.

LendEDU’s study found just what each group is willing to spend on each category, too, and what this might mean for the burgeoning eSports industry.

How much eSports fans spend

That’s where things get interesting. While we saw more fans spend on eSports merchandise than on anything else, they also spend the least amount of money on it. Here are the average amounts eSports fans spend in each category…

  • Gambling: $607
  • Twitch donations: $465
  • Tickets: $440
  • Twitch subscription: $286
  • Merchandise: $174

A quarter of eSports spenders said they don’t get into its gambling arm. And while its average spend is $607 a year, LendEDU found the typical — or median — spend is less than a third of that: $200.

Where eSports are heading

While these numbers make that seem popular, the Washington Post’s reporting really sets the enterprise apart:

Even with sports betting illegal in the vast majority of the United States, global wagering on esports was projected at $6.7 billion for 2018 in a report by software analytics company Narus and research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. That same report expected the total to approach $13 billion by 2020.

The Post draws a comparison between the eSports projections and those for a more traditional sport: “a 2013 report by the BBC estimated global soccer betting at between $49 billion and $70 billion, which, like the esports report, included both legal and illegal wagers.”

Looking at the second highest average, Twitch donations, actually found nearly half of respondents (47 percent) don’t donate at all. And LendEDU found the typical donation still runs at a smooth $100 annually, less than a quarter of the average $465. Which leads one to wonder… Just how much are people donating to create that average?

Ali Moiz gives us some insight. He’s the CEO of tipping software company Streamlabs, and told the BBC his company “processed $257 million in tips since 2014.”

“They want recognition from their favorite streamer, like ‘I am not anonymous, I’m not a nobody, I exist’,” he told BBC. “That’s why some people give insanely large donations. Some spend $100,000 a year.”

From tickets to memorabilia, fans of any sports—e or not—could overspend and take on credit card debt as they support their favorite players. If you’ve already given more than you can afford to your favorite streamer, check out our credit card debt Education Center.

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About the Author

Gideon Grudo

Gideon Grudo

Grudo is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist based in Brooklyn, NY. Previously he was the digital editor of Air Force Magazine and the managing editor of South Florida Gay News.

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