Research from Parks Associates examining emerging trends in the esports entertainment industry has found that 10% of US broadband households are watching this new form of content.
The reports, Digital Natives: The Rise of Esports and the 360 Deep Dive Sports vs. Esports: Audience, Spending, and Consumption, noted that the esports audience is typically younger male gamers under 35 with a tendency to be on the cutting edge of technology and trends. Importantly, esports viewers were found to spend more than twice as much money per month on non-pay-TV video entertainment content than non-viewers, with a monthly average expenditure of $47.23 compared with $22.97.
The research identified YouTube and Twitch.tv as the two most popular sites used to watch esports, with 61% of viewers saying that they watch on YouTube and 45% using Twitch. More than a half of viewers use more than one platform to watch esports. Yet despite the popularity of YouTube, two-fifths of esports viewers said that they would be likely or very likely to pay for a subscription to watch esports events and content, and that ta similar percentage of esports viewers were likely or very likely to pay to watch esports on a per-game or per-event basis.
Computers were the most popular device category used to watch esports. Two thirds 67% of viewers used computers to watch esports, followed by 45% using TVs and 34% using a smartphone.
“Esports is a young, dynamic, and fast-growing industry,” commented Parks research analyst Hunter Sappington, co-author of Digital Natives: The Rise of Esports and the 360 Deep Dive Sports vs. Esports: Audience, Spending, and Consumption reports. “While viewership of many traditional sports is waning, esports is well positioned to capture the attention of a generation that grew up playing video games. Today, 62% of US broadband households play video games at least one hour per week.
“Esports is currently a niche market, but it has the ability to engage often hard-to-reach demographics. For distributors, including pay-TV providers, OTT services, and social media platforms, esports represents an opportunity to complement existing content and grow the viewing audience. By participating in this market during its formative stage, pay-TV providers, networks, and other ecosystem players can influence the trajectory of the market and secure content rights to key events.”