The world of entertainment is changing, and it is not hard to see why. The change of generations dictates new sports and interests that will rise to the top, meaning that some of the traditional sports will decline in popularity.
In terms of eSports and horse racing, it seems like we have the battle of modern technology that is mainly attractive to the younger demographic and the sport covered with tradition with hundreds of years of history.
Even though both industries had experienced tough times in the past and share some similarities, they couldn’t be more different.
So, how have they stacked up against each other over the past decade? Let’s take a look.
The Rise of eSports
In case you’re an outsider to the digital world and the world of games, the eSports industry, which refers to competitive video gaming has experienced huge growth in the last couple of years.
Even though we are talking about a niche hobby, it has turned into a global phenomenon that experts predict will overtake some of the more mainstream sports in popularity over the next couple of years.
The eSports industry has exploded in the past decade, with revenues projected to reach $1.5 billion by the end of 2023.
But why so Sudden Growth of the eSports Industry?
Well, the popularity of the competitive video gaming space can be attributed to a number of different factors.
First and most important, is the change of generations. Nowadays, people born in the 2000s are grown adults and most of them never heard about horse racing, and mainly have been focusing on gaming throughout their life.
Another factor is the rise of streaming platforms like Twitch, which significantly increased the popularity of competitive gaming like Fortnite, COD, Counter-Strike, League of Legends, Dota 2, and more.
But what does all this have to do with horse racing?
Horse Racing’s Struggle to Keep Pace
While horse racing has a long and storied history, it’s struggled to keep up with the times in recent years. In many ways, it’s the antithesis of eSports – it’s a traditional, physical sport that’s been around for centuries. But that doesn’t mean it’s immune to the effects of modern technology and changing attitudes.
When it comes to horse racing’s popularity, we’ve seen a slight decline over the past decade. Even though popular racing events like the Kentucky Derby are still packed with spectators, when we view the overall horse racing scene, we can see a downward trend. You can check here the future wager pool for the upcoming event: twinspires.com/kentuckyderby/future-wager-pool
There are a few reasons for this.
First of all, the change of generations that we’ve talked about before. Not many young adults are interested in horse racing, and they’ve never grown up in a world where horse racing was a big thing.
Additionally, there are some concerns about animal welfare, and the ethical aspect of horse racing, even though the sport has become safer for horses and jockeys than ever before.
Comparing the Numbers
So, how do the numbers stack up? Let’s take a look.
In 2020, the Kentucky Derby – arguably the biggest horse racing event of the year – had an estimated viewership of 14.5 million people. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but when you compare it to the League of Legends World Championship, which had a viewership of over 100 million people in 2020, it’s clear that horse racing has some catching up to do.
But it’s not just about viewership – it’s about revenue, too. In 2022, the eSports industry generated $1.44 billion million in revenue, while the horse racing industry generated an estimated $3 billion.
Even though the horse racing industry is still generating more money, the trend suggests that the eSports industry will outgrow the horse racing industry very soon. Experts suggest that the eSports industry will be worth around $5.48 billion by 2029 and the horse racing industry will decline from today’s worth.
The Future of Horse Racing and eSports
So, what does the future hold for these two industries?
It’s hard to say for sure, but one thing is clear – they’re both evolving. Horse racing is starting to take steps to modernize, with some tracks offering mobile betting apps and live streaming options.
This change is necessary if they want to keep up with fast-growing industries like eSports.