FIFA continues to soar in popularity on the competitive gaming scene and it could soon become one of the world’s biggest esports. League of Legends, Dota 2 and CS:GO currently reign supreme as the leading titles, but FIFA is fast catching up and its potential for future growth is enormous. Here are the 10 key figures that show just how big FIFA already is and how big it could become:
20 MILLION The number of people that competed in the FIFA 2018 competitive gaming season. That is an almost obscene number of participants and it dwarfs the number of players gunning for glory in other games within the world of esports. Qualifiers were held all over the world and a series of playoffs eventually whittled the number down to just 32 superstar gamers – 16 on Xbox and 16 on PlayStation. They converged upon London to battle it out for glory at the eWorld Cup Grand Finals as millions of fans around the world watched on.
60 Nations that competed in last season’s FIFA 2018 global series. Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, with billions of fans on every continent, and that gives FIFA a huge advantage over its rivals. Most people know the rules of the game, they can identify with the teams and they can easily follow the action. The likes of Dota 2 and LoL can be seen as complex, inaccessible games, but most casual fans find FIFA easy to pick up. Yet it is also thrilling to watch the finest FIFA stars locking horns with one another, as the level of skill involved is phenomenal, making it an increasingly popular spectacle.
30 MILLION The number of views the 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup generated across online platforms such as YouTube and Twitch during the three days of the grand finals. That saw it eclipse some Premier League games in the popularity stakes. “I think that surprises a lot of people, because why would people want to watch people play this when they can just watch the live sport counterpart?” said Todd Sitrin, senior vice president and general manager at the competitive gaming division of EA, which publishes FIFA. “And the reason is really simple. FIFA esports is by far the most accessible esport that exists out there.”
$400,000 The prize money on offer at the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018 Grand Finals. That is a drop in the ocean compared to the $25.5 million up for grabs at The International 2018, the leading Dota 2 competition, but it is still a lot of money in the nascent esports industry. As FIFA’s popularity as an esport continues to grow, prize pools for big tournaments will rise accordingly. Ultimate Team fans spend cash on in-game purchases and EA’s pockets are deep, so it can afford to channel a lot more money into tournaments as it bids to make FIFA a leading esport.
$362,565 Career earnings for MSdossary, who soared to victory at the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018. The Saudi Arabian superstar won the Xbox side of the tournament and then beat StefanoPinna 4-0 in the cross-console final to lift the trophy. He earned a cool $250,000 for his endeavours, and then he found himself rubbing shoulders with stars like Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos at The Best FIFA Football Awards in London. He had continued to thrive in 2019 and his career earnings are spiralling all the time.
9045 Ranking points for Xbox star F2Tekkz, the most highly rated player in the FIFA 19 global rankings. By contrast, Msdossary is second in the Xbox rankings and he has a mere 2994 points. The leading PlayStation stars, Nicolas99FC and StefanoPinna, are on 5710 and 4530 respectively. Players like F2Tekkz, a teenage sensation otherwise known as Donovan Hunt, are becoming celebrities and that will fuel the growing craze for FIFA as an esport. He has met Steven Gerrard and Kaka and played FIFA against Raheem Sterling, showing just how seriously everyone is taking competitive gaming as a pursuit.
270 MILLION Number of copies sold in the FIFA franchise over the years. FIFA18 sold 24 million copies and that took the total to 260 million, while there have been 193 million installs of FIFA Mobile. FIFA 19 was then the bestselling game of 2018, ahead of Red Dead Redemption 2 and God of War. It sold 2.5 million copies in the UK alone and many more across the globe, taking the overall total to the 270 million mark.
$1.1 BILLION The value of the esports market in 2019, according to NewZoo. The industry is growing by more than 30% year-on-year, and that is largely a result of huge sponsorship deals. The likes of Intel, Coca-Cola and MasterCard are all putting their commercial might behind it, while celebrities continue to invest in teams. FIFA is only scratching the surface of this right now, but the potential to tap into this lucrative market is huge.
$23.5 BILLION Esports betting is estimated to hit $6 billion in 2018, and it is projected to rise to $23.5 billion by 2020. Watching two FIFA pros battling it out can be a fascinating experience, but that excitement is massively heightened if you have money riding on the outcome. Esports fans love to wager on games and that has really helped fuel the growth the industry has enjoyed.
6 Official league partners for the 2019 FIFA global series. The Champions League, the Premier League, La Liga, the Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and MLS have all signed up as partners. There are up to six FUT Champions Cups throughout the season, run by EA along with these major partners. There are also two FIFA Majors in the 2019 series, with the return of the FIFA eClub World Cup and the launch of the FIFA eNations Cup. You will see seven licensed qualifying events, while this season has also featured an expansion of league partner events across the globe. Leading teams like PSG, Ajax and Wolfsburg all have FIFA franchises and that really helps boost its credibility.