Can Esports Surpass Horse Racing In Popularity?

Betting on sports continues to dominant the landscape in terms of online wagering, but the newest newcomer to the sector comes in the form of eSports. This genre of gaming has enjoyed a significant boom over recent years, as a growing number of fans are enjoying watching players compete in some of the world’s most popular video games.

As a sector, eSports has shown that it is here to stay, and the sport is even set to be added to the Olympic Programme in the coming years, but could it surpass horse racing in terms of popularity in the future?

What Is Esports?

Unless you have been living under a rock for the previous ten years, bettors will be well aware of what esports are. However, if you aren’t aware, then eSports is simply competitions in some of the most popular video games. These include titles such as League of Legends, Fortnite, and FIFA.

The sector has been around for well over ten years, but its popularity has reached new heights over recent years, with the sector now reportedly being worth around $1 billion. New waves of younger fans are captivated by the action daily, meaning that the industry is expected to continue to grow over the coming years.

Are There Similarities?

From the outside looking in, it may appear strange to suggest that there are similarities between horse racing and eSports, but there are in fact more than you would believe. Both sectors require a high level of understanding before betting, while both require a greater level of strategy when it comes to long-term games.

This is the case for horse racing, as jockeys will need to plan out how they attempt to win a race, as TwinSpires Preakness odds show.

Meanwhile those playing eSports will need to develop game plans to assess the best way to win their match. Quick decision making is required in both sports, and this can often be the difference between winning and losing.

Viewing Figures

The best way to showcase the difference between the two sports is the attendance that both are able to attract. Esports has a long way to go before it can reach the peak level of popularity enjoyed by horse racing. The biggest eSports event to date came in the form of the Free Fire World Series in 2021, which was watched by just over 5.4 million fans. However, that is a long way shy of the record-breaking viewing figures when it comes to horse racing.

The most-watched race in Kentucky Derby history was witnessed by over 16 million fans from across the world. Even at a national level, eSports has ground to find on horse racing. This is echoed by the fact that over 7.5 million fans in the United Kingdom alone tuned in to watch this year’s edition of the Grand National. The figures also show that the popularity of horse racing isn’t slowing down, as that was up from the 4.1 million viewers that watched the same race in 2022.

Are There Challenges For Esports?

Horse racing is a sport that has stood the test of time, which means that its position as one of the most viewed sports isn’t up for debate. The sport has needed to overcome challenges throughout history, and that is something that eSports is yet to do.

However, the sector will have the opportunity to showcase this over coming years, as it will be interesting to see whether the viewing figures for eSports events are maintained, as the relatively new sector could diminish in terms of viewership. Meanwhile, eSports is mainly targeted to a younger demographic, which means that it may need to entice older viewers to show continued growth like horse racing has.