In October 1972, Stanford University, California, hosted a competition based on the video game Spacewar. Just a bunch of students took part in what is now referred to as the first known gaming event, challenging each other to win an annual subscription to the music magazine Rolling Stone. Fifty years later, organized video game tournaments turned into a billion-dollar industry, commonly defined as the eSports market. While China, the United States, and Western Europe were the regions generating the highest eSports revenue worldwide in 2021, professional gaming is also gaining momentum in Latin America. Brazil, for instance, had over 1,200 active eSports competition players in 2021. Meanwhile, the 2022 closing season of the Liga Latinoamérica (LLA) - the main tournament of League of Legends among Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas – recorded more than 94 thousand peak viewers.
What are the most profitable eSports markets in Latin America?
In 2021, the eSports market worldwide was estimated at just above one billion U.S. dollars. That year, Mexico and Brazil, the leading Latin American countries based on eSports revenue, represented a combined share of less than three percent of global earnings. Both markets, however, were forecast to grow steadily in the following years, with revenue surpassing 20 million U.S. dollars by 2027. Given the importance of Twitch for the gaming community, the number of Twitch app downloads in Latin American countries can give another interesting angle to understand the popularity of eSports in the region. In this respect, Brazil and Mexico reported the highest figures again, with nearly 440 thousand and 360 thousand downloads in April 2022.
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Ana M. López
Research expert covering travel, tourism and hospitality