Media analyst group Rethink Research has forecast that the esports industry will be bringing in around $5.05 billion by 2024. The analyst suggests that the industry is growing at a much faster pace than expected, and the opportunity of television rights, sponsorships, merchandise, and publisher fees are set to give the whole esports scene a substantial boost.

It’s a pretty big leap for the burgeoning sport to make in five years. According to Rethink’s report, esports made around $900 million in 2018, meaning that the industry is set to make over five times that by 2024. And research group Stasis released a similar report earlier this year, forecasting the esports industry to have reached around $1.79 billion by 2022, which at first glance seems like a rapid, yet more reasonable projection.

Rethink explain that along with publisher fees, sponsorships, and merchandise, it’s the promise of media partnerships and a growing fanbase that will see this surge of cash. The report claims that esports fans, which is primarily made up of “ultra-young white and Asian male[s]” at the moment, is set to become far more mainstream. It estimates a growth from “154 million in 2018 to 377 million in 2024” as the sport attracts a more diverse audience. The report explains that the breakthrough to audiences in China, South Korea, and the Asian Pacific will all help to introduce new revenue streams.

We’ll also see esports become far more normalised in the coming years, shedding the sensationalist stories of children winning millions from Fortnite, instead bringing in casual viewers who are “attracted by “sanitized” esports competitions with appeal beyond enthusiasts.”

Rethink explains that the forecast only considers the primary revenue streams for esports, and points out that the esports betting scene is a body independent of leagues and organisations. Still, the analyst reckons that esports betting will actually surpass the revenue made by the industry, forecasting esports betting to hit around $5.7 billion in that same time frame. Rethink puts this objectively ridiculous sum of money down to the new audiences in China and the Asia Pacific.