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Expand chart
Reproduced from Newzoo; Chart: Axios Visuals 

The global esports market is expected to surpass $1 billion this year — a 27% increase from last year — thanks to the explosive growth of brand sponsorships and media rights, according to the latest forecast from esports data company NewZoo.

Why it matters: More brand sponsorships means that companies see esports as a prime opportunity to get in front of younger audiences that could be big spenders. In total, NewZoo says sponsorships have grown by more than 30% since last year.

Brands still make up the majority of revenue that flows into esports, even if not for direct brand sponsorships. In total, about 82% of the total market will come from brand investments that include sponsorships, but also media rights and advertising.

Yes, but: Like the traditional sports business market, the fastest-growing esports revenue stream is by far media rights. (It's worth noting, however, that the NewZoo estimate doesn't included winner pools, betting, etc.)

Be smart: The North American esports market, which represents roughly 40% of the global market, is by far the largest esports market globally today. China, whose tech giants invest heavily in building esports businesses and culture, is set to overtake western Europe as the second-largest region in terms of revenues this year.

Go deeper:

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Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

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The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Collective.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

DHS warns of "heightened threat" because of domestic extremism

Supporters of former President Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued an advisory warning of a "heightened threat environment" in the U.S. because of "ideologically-motivated violent extremists."

Why it matters: DHS believes the threat of violence will persist for "weeks" following President Biden's inauguration. The extremists include those who opposed the presidential transition, people spurred by "grievances fueled by false narratives" and "anger over COVID-19 restrictions ... and police use of force[.]"

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