Market researcher Newzoo has downgraded its 2020 esports revenue forecast for the third time this year, now saying revenues will likely hit $950.3 million.
The revision is only slightly down from the previous forecast of $973.9 million, which Newzoo predicted back in July. In April, it revised its earlier estimate to $1.059 billion, and back in February — before the pandemic — the forecast was $1.1 billion for 2020 revenues.
The fact that the forecasts haven’t changed much each time points to the reason Newzoo has had to revise the estimates so frequently — namely the unpredictability of the market as a result of the pandemic. Admittedly, the frequent small changes feel a little farcical. On the other hand, it seems prudent for the company to evaluate the fast-changing market every quarter, as esports revenues can be affected dramatically by whether fans will be able to meet in physical venues again or not.
In past years, physical venue revenues — from such streams as event ticket sales and merchandise — were a big part of esports revenues. And while digital events produced huge spectator numbers, the revenues associated with digital events tended to be smaller.
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Now COVID-19 has turned everything upside down, as physical events have been canceled and digital events are expanding to become more frequent, as well as larger in scope. ESPN and Eleague on TBS, for example, have been broadcasting more esports events on TV.
At the recent Esports BAR online event, Newzoo head of esports Remer Rietkerk warned in a talk that the company was evaluating its forecasts again. In a statement, Newzoo said it is always reviewing its esports revenue forecasts and wants to keep everyone aware of