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  • Bob Sillick

Esports Is More Mainstream Than Ever and the Platform to Engage with Young Adults

Esports may have been considered an outlier in the greater sports entertainment world for many years, but it has thrust itself very much into the mainstream of that world. According to the NewZoo April 2022 Global Esports Report, the global esports audience will increase 8.7% during 2022 to a total of 532.0 million and revenues will increase 21.8% to $1.38 trillion.

More importantly, while traditional major professional sports attract broad audiences and remain valuable to many advertisers, Esports fans are almost exclusively young adults. It has become the platform for advertisers who want to reach and engage with young adults, especially men, very effectively and efficiently.

Before the pandemic, thousands of Esports fans were attracted to live events at local venues and following those events online. Although most all of these events have been generally halted since March 2020, they are being scheduled again, which, undoubtedly, will fill those arenas and venues with eager fans to watch their favorite Esports teams compete.

KemperLesnik, a PR firm and sports marketing agency, reports new Esports/video gaming stadiums and centers are opening or in the construction phase in Chicago, Detroit, Houston and Kansas City and at the University of Texas. Another significant indication, fans are less concerned about attending these events.

In-depth, proprietary 2021 consumer/market surveys from Local Sports Insights reveal not only who are Esports fans, but also those who are fans of other sports and their heavy exposure to legacy and digital media.

Averaging data from five of those surveys (Tampa-St. Petersburg; Columbus; Milwaukee-Racine, WI; Denver; and Monterey-Salinas, CA) found the average age of Esports fans is 32.8 and they are almost all Gen Z adults and Millennials based on their indices as Esports fans.

Unsurprisingly, the five surveys also show more than three-quarters of all Esports fans, on average, are men 18+ at 78.4%, compared to women 18+ at 21.6%. Although many advertisers are focused on reaching these men, they shouldn’t overlook the young women who enjoy Esports, too. An audience that is likely to increase as Esports continues to mature.

Additional data from the five representative Local Sports Insights surveys show Gen Z and Millennial fans are very involved with all aspects of Esports, except for betting on events among Gen Z adults.

Millennial Esports fans score much higher than Gen Z adult Esports fans as fans of other sports.

Analyzing the media habits of Esports fans in the five representative market surveys from Local Sports Insights shows Gen Z adults only over-index for heavy exposure to radio (180+ minutes during an average day) at a strong 167 among five legacy media. They do over-index, on average, for heavy exposure to four of five digital media: Internet at 147, audio streaming at 148, social media at 118 and video streaming at 102; however, they under-indexed, on average, and significantly, for podcast listening at 34.

Millennials Esports fans are heavily exposed, on average, to four of the five legacy media and four of the five digital media.

  • Radio (180+ minutes during an average day) – 110

  • TV (180+ minutes during an average day) – 96

  • Newspaper (60+ minutes during an average day) – 142

  • Outdoor (200+ miles during an average week) – 127

  • Direct mail (75+ read weekly) – 129

  • Internet (180+ minutes during an average day) – 102

  • Social media (180+ minutes during an average day) – 101

  • Audio streaming (180+ minutes during an average day) – 87

  • Podcast listening (180+ minutes during an average day) – 160

  • Video streaming (180+ minutes during an average day) – 113

Next Blog Post: Esports Fans Are Valuable Consumers

A note on the Local Sports Insights Data of Esports and Its Fans

Local Sports Insights and its proprietary database of consumer/market surveys are one of the few comprehensive sources about Esports fans. The Esports audience is quite small and almost entirely concentrated among adults 18–44 (and likely many teens). In the five market surveys, Esports fans averaged 3.1% of all adults 18+. For this reason, any indices of 300 or more are skewed because of the small numbers of Esports fans. These skewed indices still indicate a high likelihood of data correlation, but should be utilized carefully.

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