Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Expand chart
Data: Newzoo 2018 Global Esports Market Report; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Video games were once seen as a brain-rotting distraction from good, old-fashioned sports. Now, those same games are the bedrock of a burgeoning esports industry that is rapidly maturing.

Why it matters: The combination of streaming and social networking has manifested most visibly in esports, where millions of fans have come together from across the globe. And where there's a big audience, there's big business.

Esports-related revenue reached nearly $1 billion ($345 million in North America) in 2018, per research firm Newzoo. This was driven largely by corporate sponsorships — with ticket sales, merchandise and media rights bringing in additional revenue.

  • Last year's DOTA 2 championship, one of esports' biggest tournaments, boasted a purse of $25.5 million, more than double what golf's U.S. Open paid out ($12 million).
  • Take-Two just signed a $1.1 billion deal with the NBA for the NBA 2k League.
  • Tencent, the world's largest gaming company by revenue, is investing $150 million per year into esports ventures.

Esports are also becoming the new social media. Exhibit A: The massive success of Fortnite, the game that has become as much a way to socialize online as it is to play.

  • Most Fortnite players spend at least 6-10 hours a week playing the game, per a study by financial education company LendEDU. By comparison, the average active user of Snapchat or Instagram spends roughly 30 minutes per day on those those platforms.
  • Half of teens say playing Fortnite helps them keep up with friends, according to a study from Common Sense Media. And 44% say they've made a friend online through the game. In fact, 39% say they have bonded with a sibling through the game.
  • Fortnite reached 200 million users (nearly 80 million monthly active users) in a little over a year, per Epic Games. By comparison, it took Twitter roughly five years from launch to reach 100 million monthly active users.
  • Players are valuable: The average revenue per user (ARPU) of Fortnite users is $96, almost two times more than Google, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat combined, per Leo Polovets, General Partner at Susa Ventures.

The bottom line: The esports industry is thriving despite having just one mainstream star and very little infrastructure. But with leagues popping up at both the high school and college levels, it won't be the wild west for long.

Go deeper

Updated 6 mins ago - World

German election: Exit polls show close race to succeed Angela Merkel

SPD leader Olaf Scholz. Photo: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

BERLIN — Exit polls from Sunday's German elections showed the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) slightly ahead of the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) in a tight election race to succeed Angela Merkel too close to call.

The state of play: Official results were still rolling in, but a partial count showed the SPD ahead with 26% of the vote and the CDU on just over 24%.

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Liz Cheney: Americans deserve better than choice of Biden or Trump

Rep. Liz Cheney talks with Lesley Stahl on CBS' "60 Minutes." Photo: CBS News

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Americans "deserve better than having to choose between" President Biden's "disastrous" policies and former President Trump, "who violated his oath of office."

Why it matters: Cheney made the remarks after CBS' Lesley Stahl put it to her in the interview that Republicans feel that her joining the House select committee in charge of investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot helps "keep the focus on Trump instead of on the shortcomings of the Biden administration."

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: The LCV's $4M ad buy

A screenshot from a new League of Conservation Voters ad supporting Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power are aiming another $4 million worth of ads at centrist House Democrats, urging them to support the climate provisions in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Progressive groups are trying to counter the onslaught of conservative money pouring into swing districts. Both sides are trying to define Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and pressure lawmakers to support — or oppose — the legislation scheduled for a vote in the House this week.