Who Watches Esports? Interpret Releases Report That Busts Myths About Esports Viewers

Esports is no niche pastime: The number of people who have watched professional esports tournaments is 31M in the United States and 68M in China, according to GameScape, a new report from Interpret, LLC.

The report shows that esports viewers are older and more educated than you may have thought. In the U.S, the median age for esports viewers is 28, nearly half of them hold a college degree, and 55% are employed full-time, according to GameScape. In China, esports viewers are even more likely to be fully-employed, with 75% holding full-time jobs and 71% holding a college degree. eSports viewers also report higher than average household income and most admit to having spent money on esports related goods (69% in the U.S. and 84% in China). “As esports audiences grow worldwide, they represent significant business opportunities for a multitude of companies,” said Yuanzhe (Michael) Cai, President of Interpret, LLC.

The report also concludes that esports viewers overlap heavily with viewers of traditional sports. In the U.S., over half of esports viewers report watching NFL games, and in China, over two-thirds report watching NBA games. Although the status of esports as “real sports” may still be hotly debated in the media, this issue seems to be mostly settled for U.S. and Chinese esports viewers, with 61% and 63% respectively agreeing esports are real sports. “Esports fans are not just watching to learn how to better play their favorite games, they engage for entertainment value and excitement,” said Cai.

One area where esports may be beating out traditional sports is the ability to engage viewers in the early rounds of major tournaments. Almost half of U.S. and Chinese esports viewers report tuning in to the first rounds of esports tournaments. For esports advertisers and sponsors, this may mean a greater bang for their buck if they invest in the early stages of a tournament.

GameScape provides comprehensive insights about esports viewers and their motivations and preferences, as well as measurements of VR/AR familiarity and interest in the U.S. and China. For more information, please contact Diane LightWaight at diane.lightwaight@interpretllc.com or 310.567.4380.

Interpret, LLC is a full service market research firm focused on media, entertainment, and technology.

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