Report: More than 70 million people watch eSports worldwide

Super Data Research and Newzoo say that worldwide viewership for eSports has doubled in the past year, now reaching over 70 million people.


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Super Data Research, who released research earlier this year stating that Riot Games made $624 million in revenue for League of Legends in 2013 and that Dota 2 made around $80 Million, has put out a new report centered on eSports in collaboration with Newzoo.

The report states that viewership across all eSports titles has doubled within the last year, peaking to over 71 million by the end of 2013. Almost half of those viewers, 31.4 million, come from the United States where males account for 70% of frequent viewers and participants. The report finds that the majority of U.S. viewers are males between 21 and 34 years old. The average eSports viewer watches 19 times a month, with a session length of 2.2 hours.

While men represent the majority of the viewership, the report finds that 34% of viewers are women. These statistics contradict an earlier survey held in February showing a huge gender gap, stating that 90-94% of viewership was from men.

“Large companies like Riot Games, Valve, Wargaming and Ubisoft are placing bets on the growing success of eSports worldwide", said SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen. "And with the booming popularity of streaming services like Twitch, ESL and MLG, it is becoming easier than ever for gamers to connect with other players and form communities that culminate in competitive gaming.” (Ed note: ESL does not have its own streaming service.)

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SuperData and Newzoo jointly view the increasing popularity of free-to-play games like League of Legends and Dota 2 to be a major factor in the sector’s growth and a point of opportunity for large advertisers to connect with young, affluent males. Research results also prove that eSports enthusiasts represent the big spenders, not only on PC and console games but also on smartphones and tablets

Newzoo’s report features results from recent nation-wide consumer research in the US and key EU countries. It profiles 31.4M US and 16.3M West-European eSports viewers. The report distinguishes different groups of eSports enthusiasts based on viewing behavior and level of active participation.

40% of eSports viewers can be seen as truly engaged eSports enthusiasts, participating in amateur tournaments and/or watching eSports content regularly. The other 60% illustrate the direct potential for continued growth of the eSports market.

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ESports enthusiasts carry the biggest game wallets, with 22% of them being big spenders compared to 8% for all gamers. Contrary to expectation, eSports enthusiasts are more likely than the average gamer to be married, 52% versus 39%, and have a full-time job, 71% versus 50%.

“Long established in Asia, eSports and free-to-play, have now broken out of their niche and into Western markets", says Peter Warman, Newzoo CEO, on the relationship between free-to-play and eSports. "Does this prove there is a direct relationship between the two phenomena? At Newzoo, we believe so. Time spend and engagement have become equally important KPIs as money spend, and that is essentially what eSports delivers”.

The report estimates that League of Legends will see 42 million new players by 2015, topping out at 94 million monthly active users, with Wargaming's World of Tanks predicted to reach $590 Million in revenue by 2015.

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Twitch released their own impressive report in January, which includes 12,000,000,000 minutes watched per month, over 45 million unique viewers per month, 1 million broadcasters per month and 6,000,000 total videos broadcast per month. 5,100 of those broadcasters are partners, and minutes watched and videos broadcasts have doubled since 2012, with unique viewers up from 20 million in 2012. Twitch users watch on average 106 minutes of content per day.

“When video game historians will look back on gaming a decade from now, 2013 will be the year they cite as the tipping point of streaming”, said Twitch's VP of Marketing Matthew DiPietro at the time. “Every major event, publisher, developer and media outlet in the gaming industry had a presence on Twitch, and streaming became an ever-present piece of the gaming experience. And it’s only going to get bigger."

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