Esports is a live programming category that’s clearly gaining momentum with viewers, but Parks Associates’ new figures suggest that esports has already found a sizable audience.
According to the firm’s new research, 10% of U.S. broadband households now watch esports. That’s significant considering that, according to the Leichtman Research Group, 84% of U.S. households get internet service (with the vast majority being broadband) and, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are nearly 118 million U.S. households.
"Esports is a young, dynamic, and fast-growing industry. 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 U.S. broadband households play video games at least one hour per week," said Hunter Sappington, research analyst at Parks Associates, in a statement. "Esports is currently a niche market, but it has the ability to engage often hard-to-reach demographics."
According to Parks, the audience for esports entertainment is mostly younger male gamers under 35, and that on average they pay more than twice as much money per month on non-pay TV video entertainment content than nonviewers.
Unsurprisingly, YouTube and Twitch are the two most popular sites for esports. Parks said 61% of viewers watch on YouTube and 45% use Twitch, while more than one-half of viewers use more than one platform to watch esports.
Another 41% of esports viewers say that they would be likely or very likely to pay for a subscription to watch esports events and content, and 39% of esports viewers are likely or very likely to pay to watch esports on a per-game or per-event basis.