Virtual sports have become increasingly popular over the last few years – especially during the pandemic.
Although they don’t involve actual athletes, virtual sports can be just as interesting to watch (and to bet on).
General Virtual Sports Stats
- The first virtual sport was created by IMB engineer John Burgeson in 1961.
- In 2020, over 4.8 million people watched the annual Virtual Grand National horse race.
- Virtual sports have an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.62%.
- With over 1.3 million viewers, NASCAR’s virtual race in 2020 was the highest-rated virtual sports game on television.
- Torque Esports’ All-Star Esport Battle in 2020 had a total of 12.1 million viewing minutes.
Virtual Sports Market Stats
- 80% of virtual bets are on FIFA and NBA 2k games.
- The virtual sports industry is estimated to be worth anywhere from $12 to $15 billion. The sports betting industry as a whole is worth $131.1 billion.
- BetConstruct shows more than 3,200 virtual games and matches a day.
- Virtual sports account for 3% to 5% of gambling revenue generated in the UK.
Virtual Sports Stats During COVID-19
- Betting increased over 30% in Europe during 2020 – most likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Online Betting Guide (OBG) saw a 943% increase in traffic since the pandemic.
- The average bet on virtual sports surpassed real sports in 2020. The average bet for FIFA was €12.50 (real) and €15 (virtual) and €12.50 (real). For the NBA, it was €21.80 (real) and €22.50 (virtual).
- In 2020, Inspired Entertainment saw an 11% increase in virtual sports operators and a $2.6 million increase in revenue.
- Golden Race also saw 100 new operators in the first 3 weeks of the pandemic.
How many virtual sports enthusiasts are there in the world?
It’s hard to put an exact number on how many people enjoy betting or watching virtual sports.
However, it is believed that over 500,000,000 people have participated in virtual sports in some form.
How much is the virtual sports revenue?
In 2020, the virtual sports industry pulled in $12 to $15 billion in revenue.
This number is a sharp increase from the preview years, likely due to the increase in players during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Was virtual sport betting on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes – the COVID-19 pandemic was one of the main reasons why the virtual sports industry grew in 2020.
Many in-person sporting events were canceled, leading to an increase in the number of virtual sports games. In addition, more people were at home and looking for other forms of entertainment, which could explain why Europe saw a 30% increase in the number of virtual sports bets.
We can’t say for sure if virtual sports will ever replace in-person sports.
However, we know that this trend is likely to remain popular amongst sports enthusiasts for the foreseeable future.
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