Esports made an estimated contribution of almost £20m to the UK economy back in 2016, with a workforce of 470 people.
That’s according to a new Screen Business report published earlier today commissioned by the British Film Institute (BFI).
The research found that the UK screen industries – comprising TV, film, video games and animation – contributed £7.9bn in GVA (Gross Added Value – the contribution to the UK economy) in 2016.
Looking at the video game industry by itself, that contributed £2.87bn to the UK economy. And esports, within this, contributed £18.4m.
That might seem like a small number compared to the rest of the games industry, but it’s also worth bearing in mind the esports sector in the UK has developed rapidly in the two years since then. It’s also a reminder that esports is just one part of the huge games industry.
In terms of video game development, total development spend was £1.25bn, of which £390m was accessed by Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR).
The report also looked at the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs the sector provides. These are calculated by counting the hours from different jobs to produce one figure, for example two or three part-time roles might be the same as one full-time job.
The collective screen industries had 137,340 FTEs in 2016, with 47,620 of those from the video games industry and 470 from esports.
The methodology behind the report: How were the esports numbers generated?
We’ve published the reasoning behind the esports numbers in full below, from section 11.3.2 from the report:
“In order to value the impact which this developing sector has for the UK, Ukie provided
headcount data for the esports teams and specialist companies operating in the UK, as well
as the esports departments of companies such as Twitch and YouTube which support the sector through online streaming. These data suggest that there are around 280 FTEs presently engaged directly within the esports sector in the UK.
“In order to place a value on this, it is reasonable to assume that, at the moment, the business model for esports most closely resembles that of the sports industry – that is, SIC 93.1 Sports activities. Therefore, economic ratios for SIC 93.1 were used to derive estimates of they economic impact of esports.
“On this basis, the 280 FTEs directly employed in esports translates to £16.1m in spending on esports, and a total economic impact (i.e. including direct, indirect and induced impacts) of 470 FTEs and £18.4m in GVA during 2016.”
The report was produced analysts Olsberg SPI with Nordicity. The British Film Institute (BFI) also worked with other industry partners on this including UK games trade body Ukie, the British Film Commission (BFC), Pact, Pinewood Group, the UK Screen Alliance and Animation UK.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League of Legends and World of Warcraft player, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association and runs ENUK in his spare time.