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Top Esports Leagues

Some top esports leagues in the world are League of Legends (LOL), the Overwatch League, and the CS:GO ESL Pro League.


  • LOL is typically characterized as a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena).
  • It is listed as the most popular esports in the world with 120 million players (on the whole) in 2019.
  • The LOL championship series is the biggest 2019 esports league.
  • In 2018, it recorded tournament views of about 240 million hours on Twitch and YouTube according to Newzoo.
  • LOL had 14 professional leagues in 2018. However, there are only 5 premier leagues taking part in the LOL championship Series: EU LCS (European), NA LCS (North American), LCK (Korea), LPL (China), and LMS (Master Series in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau).
  • North America is still developing its team system when it comes to LOL as Europe and Asia have had more time to perfect. It seems Team Liquid is so far the best team in NA LCS. However, the championship series draws teams worldwide.
  • The championship series tournament drew 75 million viewers in 2018 globally which made it the most-watched esports event in 2018.


  • Overwatch League is a league based on overwatch. Overwatch is Blizzard Entertainment's hit the first-person shooter for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Overwatch League (or OWL) by Blizzard-Activision seems to be the second-largest and most popular league worldwide with 40 million players and a total of 96 million hours of viewers interest.
  • Although it is a comparatively new game, Overwatch has entered its season 2 series with the huge prize pool of approximately $5 million.
  • There is a strict pathway towards the Overwatch League as it follows Overwatch Open Division, Overwatch Contenders Trials, Overwatch Contenders, and finally the Overwatch League.
  • Overwatch League has 20 teams competing — 11 based in the US, 2 in Canada, 4 in China, 2 in Europe and 1 in South Korea.
  • Teams have from 8 to 12 active players, most commonly 9 active players.


  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a first-person shooter league.
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is the second most popular esports among viewers with a total of 212 million hours views.
  • CS:GO has three best leagues operating currently which are the ESL Pro League, FACEIT’s Esports Championship Series, and StarLadder’s StarSeries i-League.
  • The ESL Pro League is the largest one encompassing 4 regions and is known to have the biggest prize pool.
  • The ESL Pro League covers Europe, North and Latin America, and Asia-Pacific. It has a winning prize pool of $2 million.
  • Every region is divided into 4 groups consisting of 4 teams. The winners of each group go directly to the finals and the rest compete again in 2 groups consisting of 4 players.
  • Players in the Asia-Pacific region play online, while the ones in Europe and the Americas stay offline.
  • Although CS:GO has about 17.22 million monthly active users as of August 2019, it is still the second most popular esports to be watched.


To determine the top esports leagues in the world, your research team searched for a pre-compiled list of top esports leagues in the world. We found lists of esports leagues in the world. We streamlined the available list to the top three leagues based on the number of active users for each league.
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Top Esports Events

Some top esports events in the world are The International DOTA 2 Championships, Fortnite World Cup Finals, and League of Legends Championship Series.


  • This is an annual world tournament for DOTA 2 players where the top 18 teams of the season come together to battle for a championship and the right to win the biggest prize pool in esports history.
  • It is usually held in different locations worldwide, annually, with the latest edition in Shanghai, China's Mercedes-Benz Arena in 2019.
  • The tournament usually holds in August.
  • 18 teams participate with up to 100 players overall.
  • In 2018, the tournament had a huge prize pool of $25 million, which was surpassed this year with a prize pool of $34 million, therefore making it one of the biggest events of 2019.


  • The Fortnite World Cup Finals is an annual esports competition based on the video game Fortnite, which is a third-person online battle-royale action game that is usually split into two different events.
  • One event is for solo players, and the other for two-player teams or duos, and usually involves up to 100 players doing battle to win by being the last person standing.
  • It is usually held in different locations worldwide, annually, with the latest edition in New York City, at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2019.
  • This esports event is usually held in July of every year.
  • Up to 50 teams participate with 100 players overall.
  • Over 23,000 viewers were at the stadium venue, as well as an estimated 2.3 million concurrent viewers on Twitch and YouTube streaming services. The event had a prize pool of $30 million.


  • It is a top-level professional league that is split into two seasons and two sections each — the Spring and Summer splits — with a short split playoff game and mid-season invitational tournament in between.
  • At the end of the season, "the winner of the summer split, the team with the most championship points, and the winner of the gauntlet tournament qualify for the annual league of legends world championship".
  • Except for some touring events, all the events are usually held at the Riot Games' studios in Los Angeles, California.
  • The tournament usually holds around January each year.
  • 10 teams from North America compete whereby each team plays each other twice, for a total of 90 games. Teams are then ranked by win margins, with any tied match being split by tiebreaker games if necessary at the end of the regular seasons.
  • The audience size usually involves viewers regularly numbering above 200,000 for regular season play, and with over 1.7 million unique visitors.
  • The prize pool is over $20million.

Research Strategy:

To identify some top esports events in the world, your research team searched for a precompiled list of top esports events in the world from credible publications. We found a publication by Esports Earnings, corroborated by other credible sources, on a list of video game tournaments using the prize pools as a metric of comparison to determine the top esports events in the world.
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Top Esports Teams

Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, and Team OG are the top three esports teams in the world. The top game played by all three teams is Dota. Detailed findings of our research have been presented below.


  • Total Prize Money Earned: $24,448,847
  • Total Tournaments Played: 1,430
  • Description: Team Liquid was established in 2000 and it has won over 60 championships in 14 of the most popular esport games since then. They started off as a gaming community website and hired their first professional player in 2010. In 2017, Team Liquid's Dota 2 team won The International 7 tournament.
  • Esports played:
    • Dota ($17,336,099), Counter-Strike ($1,772,175), and StarCraft ($1,361,490) are the top esports played.
    • Fortnite, PUBG, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Super Smash Bros, Street Fighter, Apex Legends, Arena of Valor, Artifact, Auto Chess, Call of Duty, Clash Royale, FIFA, Halo, Hearthstone, Magic the Gathering, Overwatch, Quake, Rainbow Six, and Tekken are other esports played by Team Liquid.
  • Financial benefits:
  • Type of content produced:
    • Team Liquid's video content production arm, 1UP Studios, produces "high-quality documentary-style film making and creative commercial content".
    • It has a wiki network, Liquipedia, which is the most widely used resource in the industry.
    • Team Liquid also runs an influencer management agency, Liquid Media, through which it manages some top names in esports.


  • Total Prize Money Earned: $20,751,172
  • Total Tournaments Played: 737
  • Description: Evil Geniuses was founded as a Counter-Strike team in 1999. It is owned by the GoodGame Agency, a subsidiary of Amazon’s Twitch. It is mainly focused on North America and has only recently started tapping into the Asian market.
  • Esports played:
    • Dota 2X ($17,870,742), StarCraft / StarCraft 2 ($798,548), and Call of Duty ($781,050) are the top esports played.
    • Fighting Games, Counter-Strike, Rainbow Six Siege, Rocket League, Artifact, Call of Duty 4, Dual FPS, Gwent, League of Legends, PUBG, Warcraft 3, and World of Warcraft are other esports played by Evil Geniuses.
  • Financial benefits:
  • Type of content produced:
    • Evil Geniuses player, Attach, creates content on YouTube and can also be caught live on Twitch.
    • Evil Geniuses has partnered with FVBET, a content company based in the Philippines, to expand its audience base in Asia.
    • Streamer Grant Harris, known as “GrandGrant”, is a caster, commentator, and casual player who has partnered with Evil Genius.


  • Total Prize Money Earned: $17,563,028
  • Total Tournaments Played: 50
  • Description: Team OG was founded as Monkey Business in 2015. The team made a mark at the Frankfurt Major in 2015. They are the "first team in Dota 2 to win four Dota Major Championships".
  • Esports played: Dota 2 ($17,562,067) and Super Smash Bros ($960) are the only games played by Team OG
  • Financial benefits:
    • Type of content produced:
      • Team OG creates exclusive content in the Chinese language and uses Weibo and WeChat to connect with fans.
      • Jesse Vainikka and Johan Sundstein are top Dota2 players who are on Team OG. They are popular esports influencers and promote RedBull on social media, which is Team OG's official sponsor and partner.
      • RedBull created the media content pertaining to the Team OG's participation in The International 7. In 2019, Red Bull Media House also released a documentary on Team OG's run at The International 8.


      The top esports teams were determined based on the total prize money earned. The player earnings depend on the prize money and the ranking in tournaments in which they participate. We have provided an indication of what the top earners make and also the number of individuals who make over $100,000.
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    Esports: Cloud 9

    Jack and Paullie Etienne founded Cloud9 in 2013. Cloud9’s teams compete in games such as Hearthstone, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, and others. The company’s 2018 estimated revenue was $22 million.




    • Cloud9’s current sponsors/partners are Hyper X, BMW, AT&T, Omen, Puma, Microsoft, Red Bull, Secret Labs, and Twitch.
    • Microsoft was the latest company to sign a partnership agreement with Cloud9. In May 2019, Microsoft became an “Official Technology Partner and the Official Performance Analytics Partner” of Cloud9.
    • AT&T and Puma are the other companies that became Cloud9’s sponsors/partners in 2019.



    • Jack Etienne has been serving as the CEO of Cloud9 since the company was founded in 2013.
    • Paullie Etienne has been serving as the COO since 2013.
    • The other known members of Cloud9’s management team are Jordan Udko (EVP Commercial Partnerships since 2017) and Eunice Chen (VP of Marketing since 2018).
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    Esports Audience Demographics

    The demographic profile of esports viewers reveal that viewership is male-dominated and most popular among millennials. The majority of esports viewers are concentrated in the APAC region and are among those employed in full-time jobs and of middle-class status.


    • The majority of esports fans are millennials between the ages of 18-34. In the US, millennials account for 62% of esports viewers.
    • The median age of US viewers is 28, with 39% of the total audience in the 25-34 age cohort.
    • 38% of the esports audience worldwide falls within the age cohort 16-24 and 35% between the age 25-34.
    • The cohort with the least viewers worldwide was reported as falling between the ages of 55-64.
    • The cohort with the second least amount of viewership are those aged 45-54, with a viewership of only 6%.


    • Esports fans are more likely to be males.
    • The Esport’s Trend Report 2018 reveals that esports viewers are 29% female and 71% male.
    • However, there has been an increase in female viewership. Female viewership has increased by 6.5% in 2 years.


    • Unlike many traditional sports, the audience for esports is truly global.
    • Statista reports that over half of the world’s frequent esports viewers and enthusiasts can be found in the Asia Pacific region.
    • In the United States, there are approximately 84 million esports viewers.
    • The ‘Big Six’ countries, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, account for 99% of the region’s (Asia Pacific) esports revenue.


    • Esports fans are among the affluent in society.
    • The Esports Trends Report 2019 reported that majority of esports viewers, that is 46% of respondents, fell within the middle income bracket.
    • 27% of viewers fell within the higher income bracket and 22% of viewers fell within the lower income bracket.
    • The Esports Observer reported that 61% of the United States over age 18 viewers are earning in excess of $50,000 yearly, which falls within the country’s middle income bracket.
    • Esports viewers have reported higher than average household incomes.


    • Esports viewers are more likely to maintain full-time employment and have high household incomes.
    • A factor which contributes to the boom in the esports market in Southeast Asia is growing regional incomes. These countries have flourishing economies and a growing middle class population, thus allowing more disposable income to be available for entertainment.
    • In the United States, 55% of esports viewers are employed in full time employment.
    • In China, esports viewers are even more likely to be employed with 75% holding full time jobs.


    • The majority of esports viewership is concentrated in the Asia Pacific.
    • This therefore means that majority of esports viewer are likely to be of Asian ethnicity.
    • A 2016 report on the distribution of esports fans in the United States broken down by ethnicity reported that 12% of US esports enthusiasts were of Hispanic descent and 11% were identified as Asian descent.


    • In the United States, esports viewers are among the most educated in the country’s population.
    • Nearly half of esports viewers in the United States hold a college degree.
    • In China, 71% of esports viewers hold a college degree.
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    Esports Audience

    Three key reasons that people watch esports are wanting to learn more about the games, enjoying aggression, and escapism.


    • A study published in January 2017 found that some top reasons people watch esports include escapism, learning more about the games, novelty, and the aggressiveness of the players.
    • Another study published in October 2017 found that information seeking, tension release, and social integration were all reasons for watching others play video games.
    • At about this 40 second mark of this video, Darin Kwilinski, senior editor of ESPN Esports, provides some reasons why people watch esports. These include inspiration, to learn things to try in the game, athlete accessibility, and no paywalls limiting a person's ability to watch.
    • According to an article in Medium, some reasons people watch esports include "vicarious achievements, the drama of the sport, aesthetics of the sport, the sport being a means to escape the everyday life, social interaction with other spectators, novelty of new players and teams, attractiveness of the athletes, and the enjoyment of aggression and the aggressive behaviours the athletes exhibit."


    • Watching other play videos give people the opportunity to learn new tricks, shortcuts, or skills. This can help them get better and become a more skilled player themselves.
    • The spectators can copy the tactics used by the professional athletes.


    • Although one study listed the aggressiveness of the players as a reason people watch esports, the study itself did not provide any explanation of why.
    • Slightly older reporting indicated that many of the popular esports games contain violence and aggression, but the actual esports athletes spend very little time on screen. Therefore, it seems likely that the aggression being referred to here is on screen aggression, although it could be related to aggressive players as well.


    • Esports viewers tend to completely immerse themselves in the action on the screen which allows them to escape from the reality of their everyday lives. Escapism is a way of reducing stress or tension, which as also mentioned in the October 2017 study on reasons people watch esports.
    • Escapism is also a reason that many people enjoy watching sports in general, so it makes sense that it would also be a motivator for esports fans.


    To determine 2-3 key reasons why people watch esports, we began by looking for scientific studies on the topic. This led us to two studies, one published in January 2017, and the other published in October 2017. Between the two studies, the only common reason given for watching esports was learning about the games, or information seeking. This was also confirmed in an interview with a senior Esports editor at ESPN, so it was included as a key reason.

    We then proceeded to look for additional articles and news stories on the topic to determine if the reasons given in the scientific studies were also supported in other sources. We found confirmation that the enjoyment of aggression and escapism were additional reasons people like to watch.
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    Sports Teams on Social Media

    The Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia Eagles are two US professional sports teams that are using social media to effectively engage their fan base. Both have consistently featured highly in lists that evaluate how professional sports teams are performing using social media.


    • The Golden State Warriors are active across a range of social media platforms. Across Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, the Golden State Warriors consistently use the hashtags #DubNation and #WarriorsGround.
    • Fans consistently use these hashtags when talking about the team on social media.
    • The posts are a mixture of player information, achievements, transfer information, game promotions, and media stories. Facebook and Twitter posts include more narratives discussing the attached media.
    • During the season they are more likely to post video highlights or game focused updates.
    • Part of the Golden State Warrior's success on social media is attributed to knowing their fan demographics and partnering with brands that engage this audience base.
    • The team engages with its fan base by reposting various fan posts or replying to some of their posts. They will also, in some instances, engage with their audience through comments on the various social media platforms.
    • Their posts vary in frequency with higher frequency during the NBA season and lower frequency during the off-season. This trend is also reflected in the fan discussions and posts regarding the team.
    • They use videos and highlights of the season to maintain audience engagement and to generate discussion during the off-season.
    • A review of the engagements for each of the posts shows those with attached video media generally have the highest engagement, likes, and comments.


    • In 2018 they were the top-ranked US Professional Sports Team on social media. This ranking is based on the number of social media engagements.
    • They had 282,343,741 social media engagements. This was over 50 million more than the second-placed Cleveland Cavaliers.
    • In 2018, the Golden State Warriors surpassed 34 million followers on their combined social media channels. This included Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Weibo, and Snapchat.
    • Their Instagram account @warriors has 12.8 million followers. They have made 11,135 posts.
    • The Facebook page @Golden State Warriors has 11,708,411 likes.
    • The Golden State Warriors Twitter account @Warriors has 6.3 million followers.
    • Posts by the Golden State Warriors on Twitter and Facebook generally mirror each other.
    • Golden State Warriors average between 3-8 Instagram posts weekly, depending on what the team news is and the stage of the season.
    • Based on figures from their Twitter account where they have made 83,600 posts since 2009, the team averages 160 tweets per week.
    • The accounts are particularly active during the playoffs.


    • The Philadelphia Eagles social media presence is discussed in the 2018 Complex Sports List, which discusses how each of the 32 NFL teams uses their social media accounts, based on an analysis of posts on Twitter. Their accounts are very much focused on the aura of "Philadelphia against the world".
    • A common theme of Eagle social media posts is #FlyEaglesFly. These types of posts emphasize their underdog status and attempt to cultivate fan unity.
    • The social media posts are strong on the work ethic and determination of the Eagles. One media outlet described the posts as the fan base being encouraged to rally behind "those who bleed green".
    • Overall the theme of their social media accounts is establishing a strong local identity while having fun and not taking themselves too seriously.
    • The Eagles have consistently said they want to be a brand with no off-season and they use social media to achieve this. By regularly posting on social media during the off-season, they maintain fan engagement.
    • A review of their accounts shows those that include video media have the highest levels of audience engagement.
    • The team engages with its fan base by reposting various fan posts or replying to some of their posts. They will also, in some instances, engage with their audience through comments on the various social media platforms.


    • Complex Sports ranked the Philadelphia Eagles third in the best use of social media in 2018.
    • The Philadelphia Eagles were second only to the New England Patriots in the number of social media engagements for an NFL team in 2018. They had 73,873,067 engagements across all their social media accounts.
    • Their Instagram account @philadelphiaeagles has 1.9 million followers. They have made 6,122 posts.
    • The Philadelphia Eagles Facebook account has 3,249,223 likes.
    • @Eagles, their Twitter account currently has over 3.5 million followers.
    • Using figures from Twitter where they have made 51,000 tweets since they joined in 2010, the Philadelphia Eagles average around 108 tweets per week.
    • They are less active on other platforms but a number of posts are mirrored on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


    We extensively searched a range of industry publications and media articles to determine the US professional sports teams that are performing well on social media. Both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Golden State Warriors consistently appeared in a range of media articles and lists that discussed the top-performing teams. These two teams are in the top three teams for their respective sports based on social media engagements and the number of followers they have on the various social media platforms.

    Having selected these two teams, we reviewed their social media accounts to obtain precise metrics on the number of followers they have and the different content they present on each of these channels. We also reviewed a range of posts from their accounts to determine how they engage with their audience and the type of posts that have the highest response levels among their followers. A range of media articles assisted in this analysis, providing some insight into the respective social media styles and the success of the style for each of the teams.
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    Esports Betting Market Size: Global

    As early as 2016, research firm — Eilers & Krejcik Gaming — and software analytic company — Narus — reported that the global esports betting market is expected to hit $6.7 billion in 2018.

    Esports Betting Market Size: Global

    • Eilers & Krejcik Gaming and Narus reported that the 2018 size of the global esports betting market would amount to $6.7 billion.
    • The market is expected to hit $13 billion by 2020.
    • NJGames report highlighted that bets on esports would increase by 134% within four years from $5.5 billion in 2016.

    Other Esports betting Statistics

    • According to a report by Stephen Crystal Esq. & Jeremy Smith, an estimated 6.5 million unique participants place wagers on eSports games.
    • The report also opines that to reach this estimate, a customer would be placing bets of about $2,000.
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    Esports Betting Market Size: Korea

    After extensive research, we were unable to locate the esports betting market size in South Korea. In 2018, South Korea black market for online betting market size was estimated to be $60 billion. Esport betting remains illegal in South Korea; hence, attending or participating in an esports betting event is not advised.


    • In 2018, South Korea black market for online betting market size was estimated to be $60 billion.
    • Esport betting remains illegal in South Korea; hence, attending or participating in an esports betting event is not advised.
    • Bet 356, Betway, Pinnacle, 1XBet, 10Bet, Spin Sports, 888sport, and Unibet are some key players in the esports betting market in South Korea.
    • SK Telecom T1, MVP Phoenix, and Samsung Galaxy are some top esports teams in South Korea.
    • SK Telecom T1 earning from esports was estimated to be $5,622,438.
    • MVP Phoenix earning from esports was estimated to be $2,691,517.
    • Samsung Galaxy earning from esports was estimated to be $2,650,754.


    To locate the South Korea market size for esports betting, we began our research by combing through market reports, media publications from credible sports agencies, and companies website. While we were able to locate the global market size for esport betting, there was no information regarding the revenue breakdown of this market my regions. We went further to source for information regarding the Asia market share where South Korea is a member country hoping to locate relevant datapoints to triangulate the request information. Unfortunately, there was no information regarding the market share of Asia for the esport betting market.

    Next, Our research team scoured press releases and company newsletter page for information regarding the esports market size for South Korea. Again, this strategy was unsuccessful. Information found were referencing global gambling market, global esports market size. These were information already located in our previous findings. We were unable to locate relevant data points like the market share of South Korea and revenue from top players in South Korea to triangulate the South Korea esports betting market size.

    Going forward, our research team attempted to triangulate the esports betting market size in South Korea by sourcing for relevant data points like the market revenue of key players in South Korea and the percentage earning from betting. While we were able to locate the revenue of some key players in the esports market in South Korea, there was no information regarding the percentage of earnings from betting. The reason for this may be attributed to the fact that online betting is illegal in South Korea.

    Lastly, we went further to source for surveys and academic publications for information regarding the South Korean market size for esports betting. We hope to locate research carried out on the amount spent by individuals and companies on esports betting. Unfortunately, this strategy was unsuccessful, we were unable to locate the amount spent on esport betting either by individuals, companies, or academic institutions. Information found were referencing some institutions in South Korea that have established esports programs, and some have built video gaming arenas and even offer scholarships to top players.

    Our research team, therefore, concluded that information regarding the South Korea market size for esports betting was not available in the public domain. This is because esports betting remains illegal in South Korea; hence, attending or participating in an esports betting event is not advised.
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    Esports Betting Market: Global

    The global esports betting market is constantly expanding. The three key players in the global betting market include William Hill, 888 Holdings and Kindred Group.


    • Esports betting market one of the fastest growing sectors and the growth of the market is attributed to the growing popularity of online competitive gaming and professional gaming.
    • The total amount bet on esports competitions is expected to jump from USD 5.5 billion in 2016 to USD 12.9 billion in 2020, marking a significant increase of 134% in just four years.
    • It is an industry where players compete playing computer games on a professional level.
    • Increased exposure, the number of people aware of eSports, a growing sector within the industry, is expected to reach 1.6 billion in 2018, while the enthusiast community will comprise 165 million of the total and grow to 250 million by 2021.


    1) Improved technology

    • Improved technology new standards for functionality and reliability that are introduced by startups such as the Unikoin and Bettium transform how online betting is perceived, opening the market up for more and more players, advertisers and investors.

    2) The effect of Regulation

    3) Introduction of New leagues and participants

    • New video game entrants such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Amazon’s Breakaway, and the Overwatch League, together with real-world sports companies, starting to partner with tech giants like EA Sports, will further drive growth and increase interest in the eSports betting market, making it more technologically advanced and bigger than ever before.



    • The company was founded in 1934 and it has grown to be among the most trusted brands that is attracting a million of customers worldwide. The company is based in started out in UK business and it happens to still be the companies home market, as it accounts almost 86% of the business last year.
    • William Hill started it business in US, Nevada and grew to be a leading sports betting operator in the US in 2012, when we merged three businesses based in Nevada to form William Hill US. The company estimates by the end of 2018 the company had grown to reach a market share of 32% in terms of revenues and 57% by number of outlets. The company now owns sports books in about 115 of the total of 190 casinos across Nevada, in addition to offering mobile betting via an app.
    • The company has been licensed to deliver online betting and gaming in Italy and Spain since 2011 and 2012 respectively, and is currently operating in the US since 2012. William Hill brand is an 85-year-old favorite which has stood the test of time and still stands for the values espoused by William Hill himself who happens to be the company founder which include trust, integrity and customer service.
    • William Hill has about 15,500 employees across the world that is in UK, Gibraltar, Malta, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, the US, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Latvia and the Philippines. The company dominates in UK at 86% then US at 5%, Italy and Spain at 4% and other countries 5%.
    • It estimated that in 2018 the company's online business generated 39% of the group revenue and also employed about 1,800 people in Gibraltar, the UK, Malta, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Poland and the Philippines. The company recently acquired Mr Green and this has expanded the company's market in Europe. Total online gambling revenues in the UK in 2018 stood at £5.3billion, representing the largest regulated market for online gambling in the world, which continues to grow.
    • The Company's retail market is the largest William Hill division, generating 56% of Group net revenue in 2018 and employing around 12,500 people in the UK.
    • William Hill is the UK’s number one provider of licensed betting offices (LBOs), with c2,300 of the c8,500 shops licensed by the Gambling Commission, although this is expected to reduce following the implementation of the £2 stake limit on gaming machines.

    2) 888 HOLDINGS

    • The company happens to be public Limited Company and is one of the world’s most popular online gaming entertainment and solutions providers. The company has been in the online gaming industry since 1997.
    • 888’s headquarters and main operations are in Gibraltar and the company has licenses in Gibraltar, the UK, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Ireland, Romania, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.
    • The Group is structured into two lines of business: B2C, under the 888 brands, and B2B, conducted through Dragonfish, which provides partners the ideal platform through which to establish an online gaming presence and monetize their own brands.
    • This strategy enables the company to leverage its core technological, product, marketing and analytical strengths and maximize their benefits across both B2C and B2B routes to market.
    • The strategy enables it to compete successfully and surpass competition in both established and newer markets.
    • The company was founded in 1997 in the British Virgin Islands as Virtual Holdings Limited. In 2019 Itai was appointed as CEO, to continue to deliver 888’s growth strategy.
    • Some company values include excellence, innovation, caring, collaboration and professional collaborating.



    In order to provide an overview of the global esports market and also locate some of its key players in the industry, we leveraged through industrial reports such as MarketWatch and news articles like 24 newswire. The reports provided us with information regarding the industry drivers and some key leaders in the industry. We also searched through most influential news sources such as Coinspeaker to look for information related to betting which gave us insights regarding market drivers for the industry. We further consulted specific company
    websites to find information regarding the identified three key players in the industry. From these resources, the main key players in the global esport market include William Hill, 888 Holdings and Kindred Group and the key drivers in the industry are improved technology, regulation, and introduction of new leagues and participants.
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    Esports Betting Market: Korea

    Esports gambling is one of the fastest growing categories in online gambling. It reached its peak in 2014 along with the use of virtual in game aesthetics that were unregulated casino chips. Below is the overview of the esport betting market in Korea.

    • Gambling is illegal in Korea hence, attending or participating in an esport betting event is not advised.
    • One way to avoid any penalties is by betting online with an offshore provider as it does not carry any major risks for those that want to bet on esports since the service is operated legally through their remote-gaming licenses.
    • The betting process starts by choosing a legitimate online bookmaker thereafter funds are added to the betting account.
    • Korean esports betting companies accept a number of fast, convenient payment methods such as bank transfers, Bitcoin, direct banking, MasterCard, Neteller Skrill and Visa.


    The 8 key players in Korea's esports betting market are:
    • Bet 356
    • Betway
    • Pinnacle
    • 1XBet
    • 10Bet
    • Spin Sports
    • 888sport
    • Unibet


    • The market for gambling on esports remains small in comparison to other more established, segment. Despite this, esports gambling still represents one of the most dynamic segment in the global gambling industry.
    • Esports betting is expected to reach up to $8 billion USD in total wagers this year, which is equivalent to $560 million in revenue at an industry average margin of 7%.
    • There are four types of markets available in Korea's eSports betting: Money Line, Handicap, Totals and Outright eSports betting.
    • Money Line This is the most traditional type of sports betting. Bets are places choosing which team will win the tournament or match.
    • Handicap As with the traditional sports betting, the player determines the chances of each side and balance it by allowing the one in the higher rank side a disadvantage or negative handicap, and the one in the lower rank side an advantage (positive handicap).
    • Totals betting is when a wager is placed on the total number of events in a tournament being over or under a figure set by the player. Totals betting depends on the type of game being played.
    • Outright eSports Betting This form of betting places the wager on the outcome of an event. It is similar to betting on who will become the overall winner of a specific tournament. Experienced esports bettors usually opt for this type of betting because it gives them more value.
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    Esports in Korea

    Korea is known as the home for esports which is now a billion dollar industry. Esports peaked popularity in the early 90s when the Korean government built a national broadband network. The country has hosted many of the biggest and richest pro gaming events. Below are findings of the Korean esports market.


    • Korea was the first country in the world to recognize professional gamers as athletes, and acknowledge the sport as a national pastime.
    • In 2000 the Korean esports Association was created as an arm of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. The association is the managing body for 25 of the country’s main esports games
    • The association previously made attempts to formalize the game into an official sport, by introducing a minimum salary for professional players, and a mandatory one-year contract for each new team members.
    • There are seven regular esport events approved by the Korea e-Sports Association.


    • SK Telecom T1- (SKT) is a Korean eSports team owned by the South Korean telecommunications company bearing the same name. SK Telecom T1 has won the League of Legends World Championship three times, in 2013, 2015, and 2016. The team is ranked #1 among 34 teams in Korea by money won.
    • MVP Phoenix-is a Korean multi gaming team consisting of members mainly from MVP Clan. MVP Phoenix is ranked #1 among 27 teams in Korea by earnings.
    • SK Telecom T1 K- SK Telecom T1 K is a League of Legends team that is playing under the flag of Korea. The team has earned $1,267,464 for the entire League of Legends professional career and is ranked #3 among 34 teams in Korea by earnings.


    • Overwatch League-The Overwatch League is a professional esports league for the video game Overwatch. It was produced by its developer Blizzard Entertainment and announced in 2016. Overwatch is the most popular esports game in Korea. There are currently 20 franchises competing in the league.
    • Korea StarCraft League- The Korea StarCraft League is a StarCraft: Remastered tournament series was launched in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of StarCraft. It is hosted by Blizzard Entertainment in South Korea. It was announced in June 2018 and is broadcast regularly in Korean and English on Twitch.


    • League of Legends Worlds Final 2018- The League of Legends World Championship is the annual professional League of Legends world championship tournament hosted by Riot Games. Teams competed for various prizes including the champion title and a $1 million cash. The 2018 League of Legends Worlds Final was held in South Korea and attracted 99.6 million viewers.
    • PUBG Nations Cup- This was PUBG first ever Nations Cup. It was held in Seoul, South Korea. The tournament featured 16 national teams from different countries including the United States, Canada, China, Russia, and Vietnam. Top players are chosen by their peers to represent every region in competitive PUBG for a chance to take on the world's best for a shot at glory and the $500,000 prize pool.
    • G-Star- Asia's biggest video game convention provides attendees with the opportunity to explore a wide range of new PC, mobile and virtual reality games. The 2018 convention was held in Busan, South Korea as well as the upcoming 2019 event.
    • The 11th Esports World Championship- This event will be held in Seoul, South Korea in December 2019. It is the sole tournament for esports where athletes compete against other national teams while officially representing their own country.

    From Part 03
    From Part 12