Esports in Germany
Esports is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world with almost 500 million fans worldwide. In Germany, more than 76 per cent of the population know what esports is or have at least heard of it. In general, Germany plays an important role in the esports world as it is the home of big companies, such as tournament organiser ESL, and significant leagues, such as Riot Games’ LEC, are played there. On top of that, globally successful teams such as G2 Esports and SK Gaming are also located in Germany.
The incredible rise of esports
Esports is quickly becoming a social mass phenomenon in Germany: three in four Germans (76 per cent) have heard of digital sports. This amounts to roughly 60 million people. In 2017, this only applied to around one in two Germans (55 per cent). The biggest growth has been recorded among Germans who have heard of esports and know what it is: since 2017, the percentage of people who are familiar with esports has risen from 29 to 45 per cent. Among the 25 to 34 age group, 15 per cent play computer and video games competitively on a daily or weekly basis. These impressive numbers were announced by game – the German Games Industry Association in summer 2021, based on the data of a representative survey by the opinion research institute YouGov.
‘Esports is quickly becoming a social mass phenomenon in Germany, too – one that is well known way beyond the key target group,’ explains Felix Falk, Managing Director of game. ‘Competitive gaming offers great opportunities for Germany, even beyond professional esports teams and international tournaments. Millions of esports amateurs are now practicing and competing online on a daily basis. This again shows why it is so important that the German federal government recognises the common-benefit status of esports clubs. This acceptance will help esports to also find its place in important areas such as club work.’
A market has emerged whose total global turnover is expected to grow to around 1.6 billion euros by 2023, according to projections by the analytics company Newzoo. Germany also has the opportunity to play an important role here. According to the auditing and consulting services organisation PwC, esports sales in Germany amounted to about 77 million euros in 2019. This corresponds to a growth of around 27 per cent compared to the previous year. PwC also forecasts increased revenues for the German esports sector during the coming years. PwC’s latest figures announced in spring 2021 project that the German esports market will generate a turnover of more than 150 million euros in 2024.
The growth in viewers, investment and turnover will continue in the next few years. Alongside the fact that the online streaming platforms are now the media backbone of esports, an increased TV presence and enhanced coverage in classic types of media will attract additional viewer groups and therefore help to engage new investors, sponsors and partners.
At this point, however, it is not yet completely clear what effects the coronavirus pandemic will have on esports. For example, there has been a significant upsurge in viewer numbers, especially during the lockdown periods. Many classic sports leagues also organised digital tournaments during these periods, such as the Spanish football league La Liga and Formula 1, bringing many people into contact with esports who previously had no experience with these types of competitions.
Germany is already home to a number of internationally renowned competitions, including the ESL One tournaments in Cologne and Hamburg, the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) and the PUBG Global Invitational. Founded in Cologne in 2000, ESL Gaming has become the world’s largest esports company with numerous online and offline competitions across the most popular video games. League of Legends developer Riot Games has two offices in Berlin. Beyond that, world-famous esports organisations such as SK Gaming, G2 Esports, ALTERNATE aTTaX and mousesports were founded in Germany and have their headquarters in Germany as well.
The more professional esports become, the more they will also develop their own system of clubs and associations. game esports, a working group for game members who are actively involved with esports, is the central point of contact for policymakers, the media, society and industry on all topics to do with esports. game esports includes a wide range of stakeholders in the esports ecosystem, such as video game developers, publishers, event organisers and agencies. At European level, game works closely with ISFE, which also brings together publishers and tournament organisers under the banner of ISFE Esports.
game esports want to make Germany the best location for esports. A number of important factors are already in place to make this possible. The federal government’s 2018 coalition agreement acknowledges ‘the growing importance of the esports landscape in Germany’. Since then, it has become easier for esports players from non-EU countries to travel to Germany for either a short or longer-term stay. If you are searching for more information on this topic, please take a look at our overview page on the esports visa.
Facts about esports in Germany
- More details regarding the esports visa are available on an information page under the following link:
Many of the individual German states have also taken the first steps towards promoting esports. Nevertheless, there are still reservations about esports, as well as hurdles that will hinder its further development in the country. Please take a look at the demands that game esports is working on together with its members to make Germany the best location for esports.
Making Germany the best location for esports
The position paper of game – the German Games Industry Association states the requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to make Germany the best location for esports. They can be found under the following link: