Kazakhstan’s Esports Is Ready for Global Expansion

By Bauyrzhan Sadiyev, the founder and CEO of Pinger.Pro, a tournament platform

Despite the ongoing pandemic, esports show growth. Newzoo, a leading gaming market analytic data supplier reported that the global revenue of esports in 2021 will reach $1.1 billion, 14.5% higher than in 2020 ($947.1 million). Therefore, many want to take their piece of the pie.

Tournaments grow in popularity

There is one universal rule: money follows the potential clients, and esports is no different from this. According to Newzoo analysts, the global audience of esports events has been growing and this year can reach 728.8 million viewers. This figure is 10% higher than in 2020.

Here is an example. In 2020 the largest tournament in terms of views was League of Legends. Users of Twitch and YouTube have spent about 91.9 million hours watching it. In other words, people chose to spend more than 90 million hours watching just one tournament.

In terms of views, esports events are nearly equal to any traditional sports. The 2016 the League of Legends championship got 400 million viewers, according to PwC. For comparison, the football WorldCup gathered one billion viewers two years before that. Given that football is the number one sport in the world, the statistics for esports are quite impressive.

As PwC data shows, the current audience of global game platforms is about two billion people; this is a huge market for partnerships with brands and investors. There are many tools that businesses can adopt to interact with their audience. One of them is special platforms for esports events, which can organize all the proper processes such as attendance forms, live streams and sportsmen ratings.

There are not so many tournament platforms but the competition on the market is really tough. For example, FACEIT, ESL Gaming and ESEA from European countries work not only in Europe but also in the U.S. or any other country if needed. For example, FACEIT has a stable audience of eight million users and 12 million online game sessions per month.

The largest platform in Europe is ESL Gaming: in 2015 when the esports market was not as big as it is now, the platform had 27 million viewers on tournaments plus 1.3 million people who watched live streaming from time to time.

ESL Gaming makes money by selling copyrights on media content and attracting sponsors. According to Newzoo, both revenue sources count for more than 75% of the $1.1 billion circulated on the market.

What’s going on in Kazakhstan?

Even though the foreign tournament platforms have a much bigger audience (for instance, eight million players on FACEIT match to the entire labor-age population in Kazakhstan), our country has a chance to get its piece of the pie.

Firstly, over recent years, we got many more active participants on esports events; this figure increased from 3,300 people in 2019 to 9,600 in the first half of 2021.

Secondly, Kazakhstanis have gotten used to esports events. This spring final games of the PUBG mobile tournament got more than 300,000 views.

Thirdly, the total number of users on the Pinger.Pro platform, which hosts national tournaments, has grown tenfold since 2019 from 13,200 to 142,500 people. In 2020 the platform got 8,000 people each month.

And this is not the end. We know that about 3.5 million Kazakhstanis are interested in games. Given that now Pinger.Pro has just 140,000 users, the growth potential is tremendous.

That’s why businesses are getting more interested in cooperation with companies from the esports industry. As a result, the prize fund for esports events in Kazakhstan increased from $40,700 in 2019 to $300,000 in 2020.

Partners love this industry because the audience is highly engaged and watches nonstop all the content we stream online including paid advertising. Thanks to this level of engagement, our viewers are quite loyal to ads.

According to Pinger.Pro statistics, in the first half of the year its visit depth was 7.3 pages per five-minute-long session on average. About 11% of the audience was users from Russia which means that our content remains popular far beyond Kazakhstan’s borders.

So far, Pinger.Pro is the only tournament platform in Kazakhstan. We’ve proved that we can develop the entire industry of esports on our own and offer partners some new possibilities to boost their businesses. When we’re done with all our hypotheses on the domestic market, we’ll launch another popular product abroad.

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