Esports In Brazil: A Sleeping Giant

When someone thinks about esports markets, China, Korea, the US and even Europe are the first ones that come to mind. However, Brazil has become a major player over the last few years. According to many, it is the most promising marketing in the world.

Read: A look into esports: its growth in popularity and business.

Brazil x esports

While esports has grown steadily, this year’s pandemic has certainly boosted interest. One reason is because traditional sports suffered a huge loss due to the suspension of competition. As a result, fans searched for an alternative method to be entertained and get their competitive fix.

During the pandemic in Brazil, the consumption of esports also increased. The Brazilian League of Legends Championship (CBLoL) recorded 336k concurrent viewers in the final between paiN Gaming and Santos. CEO of INTZ, Mr Almeida, claims that engagement records have no limits as reach on social media has gone from 8.3 million in February to almost 18 million in April. And according to Google Trends, the term “esports” has at least doubled in Brazil.

As a consequence, revenue has increased massively. A huge portion of the pie is generated by brand advertisements, media rights and sponsorships, with 2020 brands including Gillette, Dell and Redbull involved. While media deals including the likes of Facebook, Twitter and SporTV which is a top sports channel.

With that in mind, esports has many connections with the more traditional forms of sport. Flamengo established in 2017 their esports division, which included a League of Legends roster and a training facility. Ronaldo “the Phenomenon” invested as well in esports, developing teams for FIFA and League of Legends.

Growth in Brazil

With the growth of viewers on Twitch in Brazil, there is growth in the interest of the general population. This converts to more enthusiasts and more tournaments in the Brazilian territory.

According to PwC, as it presented in its 19th Global Entertainment Survey, the industry is expected to grow by 5.3% by 2022. In 2019, the gaming sector in Brazil earned $1.5 billion, moving it up the ladder to 13th position, meaning it is the leading nation in Latin America. On an international scale what is surprising is that the mobile sector market in Brazil is expected to bring a revenue of $878 million and in total $1.75 billion.

Another aspect that leans towards growth is the number of game developers. In 2020, Digital Game Industry Census found there were more than 375 developers in the country, which is 180% more than in 2014.

Most followed events

Brazilian League of Legends (CBLoL) is probably the largest tournament as it defines who will represent the region at the World League of Legends championships. With Flamengo’s sponsorship, it is certain that more football teams will focus on digital sports.

The mobile game Free Fire had over one million viewers on YouTube for their Final. Amazing if you consider that it is only in its third season. CS: GO also regularly sees high numbers following their biggest national teams; MiBR and Furia eSports.

Rainbow Six takes 4th position and that is mainly because Portuguese is the second most popular language in Six Invitational. Besides, Ninjas in Pyjamas, a well-established team from Sweden, has a Brazilian roster for this game.

International interest

The popularity of esports in Brazil keeps growing as well due to international interest. Team Liquid (USA) and Ninjas in Pyjamas have established rosters already.

Why does it happen? Because some games are more popular at a local level than in the rest of the world. A smart move if you consider that it is an untapped way to grow their fanbase. It is much easier also from an economic perspective considering for example that Free Fire had one million viewers compared to other games like Dota 2.

Another element is the popularity they have on various platforms. For example, team LOUD is the first organization that hit 1 billion views on their YouTube channel and have a steady presence on NIMO.tv with more than 300 thousand viewers.

Another worldwide trend that they follow is one of becoming fans of certain legendary players. For example, Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo is twice champion in CS: GO. Or in LOL Felipe, there is “brTT” Goncalves who featured in the documentary series ‘Legend Rising’ alongside legends like Faker, xPeke, Reckless and Bjergsen.

The future of Brazilian Esports

Several indications are showing that the future of esports in Brazil is very promising. It features a wide variety of esports disciplines including top players in both mobile and traditional titles. With betting companies entering the country for traditional sports, it seems that Brazilian fans will have more options to follow their favorite teams very soon.