Esports Jobs Increased 87% Last Year Thanks To A Surge In Popularity

If your grandparents don’t know what esports are, they may well learn very soon. The esports industry is growing at a rapid and unprecedented rate, earning funding from plenty of recognizable names in the traditional sports world and being deemed worthy of parody by Saturday Night Live, among other notable markers of success. It’s not surprising, then, that a new report by esports job website Hitmarker is showing an overall 87% increase in esports jobs in 2019, reflecting this perceivable growth.

Statistics found in the study indicating this increase also show that the majority (56.36% precisely) of esports jobs are in the United States. Of those, 63.44% are located in California, with Washington and New York coming in at second and third in total number of esports industry job opportunities. The three largest esports companies are Twitch, Riot and Epic—the first two of which are located in California, which can now statistically be crowned the esports capital of the world.

It’s no stretch to describe the current state of the esports industry as a bubble economy. Just like recreational marijuana businesses in states that have recently passed legalization legislation, new esports businesses too are seeming to pop up on every metaphorical corner. As to whether or not the industry’s current size is sustainable, there’s evidence of both its possible longevity and an imminent implosion.

Take, for example, the current talent mini-exodus from the Overwatch League. By all indications, key members of last year’s broadcasting team like Monte, Doa and Chris Puckett all left their prior roles due to contract disputes. In Monte’s case in particular, there’s evidence that points to him wanting a role behind the scenes of the Overwatch League that comissioner Pete Vlastelica was unwilling to grant. This isn’t the first time Monte has run into this sort of scenario either—prior to OWL, Riot Games offered Monte and Doa contracts they deemed unacceptable then too.

These sorts of contract re-negotiations are indicative of the volatile nature of esports in its current, relative infancy, and suggest that the bubble may soon pop. That said, the Overwatch League also stands as a testament to esports businesses’ potential to persevere. Despite countless cries online that its loss of talent spelled failure, the first weekend of the new season of OWL was (minus some weird and alarmingly frequent broadcasting errors), by most metrics, a success. Old talent like Toronto Defiant’s Surefour and caster Hexagrams shined alongside new talent like Paris Eternal’s FGod and Hex’s new casting partner Jaws.

What’s unavoidable for esports businesses is change, both due to its current bubble state, and inherently being an industry that relies on the rising or declining popularity of whatever games may be in its zeitgeist. That said, change doesn’t always correlate to failure, as the new season of the Overwatch League, the longstanding League of Legends World Championship, as many more present and future esports ventures will continue to prove.

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