HomeInsightsUkie publishes study entitled “The Value of Esports in the UK” and sets out recommendations for growing the sector

Article by

The new report, which the UK video game trade body Ukie commissioned from Olsberg SPI with Nordicity, shows that the UK esports sector has grown an average 8.5% annually between 2016 and 2019. The report assesses the economic impact of UK esports and provides an overview of the sector and its impact on regional economies. It also examines the breadth of businesses active in the sector and includes a set of recommendations from Ukie for the future growth of esports.

Key economic points from the report include:

  • the UK esports sector has grown at an annual average rate of 8.5% between 2016 and 2019;
  • the sector supported over 1,200 jobs in 2019; the UK esports sector represents just under 8% of the global market;
  • the UK esports sector supported £111.5 million in Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2019; and
  • a major global esports event could generate 238 full-time equivalents (FTEs) of employment and £12 million in GVA for the UK economy.

Ukie has made the following recommendations for the sector’s future growth:

  • regular engagement: partnership between Government and industry is core to growing any sector; Ukie recommends that some form of regular engagement is established between the industry and DCMS to advise on growth;
  • promoting the UK’s esports industry: the GREAT campaign promotes the best of British; Ukie believes that if the Government is serious about making esports an area of national strength then it should establish an “EsportsIsGREAT” strand of the GREAT campaign;
  • building on British expertise: esports draws on expertise from many DCMS sectors, from traditional sports to broadcast media; Ukie recommends that the Government work with the industry to support the export of esports products, such as content for linear broadcast, that builds on the best of British talent and looks at ways to incentivise more esports production and activity in the UK;
  • funding technological innovation: the Government has taken a strong first step by funding the Weavr Consortium, an esports demonstrator, as part of the Industrial Strategy’s Audience of the Future challenge; Ukie believes that esports can serve as a test bed for technology with applications across other sectors, and recommends the Government back this with a small and focused Esports Technology Challenge Fund;
  • securing international events: the UK already plays host to large esports events such as ESL One Birmingham and the FACEIT Major, but Ukie believes more could be done; Ukie recommends that the Government work with industry to offer attractive packages to tournament organisers to bring their events, as well as the fans and associated economic benefits, to the UK;
  • becoming a customer: the esports audience is young and highly engaged; as the Government looks to get crucial messages to this group, it should work with esports businesses to buy advertising space and run campaigns;
  • providing visa clarity: the immigration system is not always clear as to how esports players and talent should apply for entry and visas; Ukie does not advocate for any wholesale changes to the immigration system, but rather the development and issuance of clear guidance in partnership with industry; and
  • maintaining regulatory stability: the UK must maintain a stable regulatory environment for businesses; as the UK forges its new place in the world, outside of the EU, we must ensure we are attractive to businesses and investors; ongoing and clear engagement from the Government with the video games and esports industry will be crucial here.

To read Ukie’s press release in full and for a link to the report, click here.