Interpret: India’s esports viewership is second only to China

Despite a significant crackdown on gaming from Beijing, the esports industry in China is still the world’s largest, with League of Legends and the associated pro circuit, LPL, leading the way. Blink twice, however, and you might miss the surge in esports from another major country: India.

Data from Interpret’s New Media Measure: Global Profiles™ shows that growth in the Indian esports market over the past couple of years has led to India surpassing Brazil, South Korea, and other nations as an esports superpower.  Around 28% of the general population in India watches professional esports, whether on TV or via online streaming, compared to 36% of China’s populace. Western countries such as the US or UK are exhibiting less interest in esports, with 16% and 14%, respectively, of the population watching.

India’s government, realizing the business potential of the sector, has also thrown its full weight behind esports, officially recognizing competitive gaming as a sport alongside cricket, football and other traditional sports. Moreover, the rule change from India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has clearly separated esports from online gaming, which includes fantasy and casino-oriented games. With the government’s recognition, India’s esports infrastructure and support for young pro players is likely to grow.

“This revolutionary decision will not only transform the country’s gaming landscape in terms of improved infrastructure, funding, exposure and providing education about the sector but will also put India on the global esports map as a force to be reckoned with,” said Rohit Jagasia, CEO of Revenant Esports.

Mobile gaming and a rise in mobile esports has played a big part in India’s esports expansion – tournament operator ESL recently said that it’s expanding its Snapdragon Pro Series to India. The Indian gaming and esports industries combined now employ over 40,000 people, and revenues are enjoying a sharp increase, having jumped 29% from 2020 to 2021 alone, according to the Times of India. The next few years will be interesting to watch to see if there’s a global shakeup in esports dominance. If there’s one country that’s poised to leapfrog China, it’s India.