The number of consumers worldwide that are aware of eSports will surpass one billion this year, according to a new report from Newzoo.
The Global Esports Market Report reveals that awareness will be up 36 per cent compared to last year.
One of the main contributors to this conclusion is Newzoo’s recent consumer research effort performed in April, spanning North America, Europe, Middle-East & Africa, China, Japan, and Korea. From the 16 countries studied, the average awareness of eSports among gamers increased from 53.7 per cent in 2015 to 65.7 per cent in 2016.
The rapid growth in awareness exceeded Newzoo’s expectations for these regions that were researched. Explosive growth in coverage from global and local media, an intensified effort from game publishers, as well as the launch of an abundance of new leagues and events have accelerated the global exposure of eSports beyond initial expectations.
This jump in awareness in these key regions has, for a large part, also translated into higher audience numbers for both occasional viewers and eSports enthusiasts.
This is why, with its latest quarterly update report, Newzoo has adjusted its audience figures upward, from 131 million eSports enthusiasts to 148 million.
Combined with the 144 million occasional viewers (those who watch eSports less than once a month and mostly tune in for a big event or watch along with someone else), the total audience will reach 292 million.
Within the last 12 months, a huge amount of international and local media companies have either featured, or have actively started reporting on eSports.
Traditional broadcasters are launching eSports events that are partly broadcasted on TV. Turner broadcasting, for example, now hosts its own leagues, undoubtedly with the intention to pull the younger demographic back to TV. At the same time, ESL is launching a 24/7 eSports channel in Nordic and Baltic countries.
Last month, PCR visited Gfinity’s eSports arena as well as ESL’s new studio. We went behind the scenes at both locations to find out just how fast the market is moving and what viewers are demanding.
Gfinity’s head of partner relations Martin Wyatt told PCR: “We’ve run 34 events out of the Arena and they’ve been broadcast to just over 60 million people over the past year.
“We’ve been selling the place out depending on the games and we’re investing in other games. As far as year one goes, it’s been phenomenally successful.”
PCR publisher NewBay Media is hosting the first eSports Industry Awards on Monday 21st November 2016.
Hosted by games industry commentator and presenter Julia Hardy and the Gadget Show’s Jason Bradbury, over 600 of the industry’s leading figures will gather to celebrate achievements and network with each other – and the event will be streamed to the world live on the night.
Nominations have been extended to May 20th. You can nominate yourself, your firm, or anyone else in the industry you think should be up for an award here.