We’ve discussed just how big eSports is becoming, including its coverage into mainstream television. However, for those looking into specifics to how much it’s watched by U.S. audiences, a new study indicates just how popular it is.

The report, conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates, shows that about 70 percent of Americans between the ages of eight to 64 play video games, and out of that group, 18 percent have watched some form of eSports programming in one form of another, either by viewing online or attending a devoted event. That’s double the number reported from a couple of years back, when only 9 percent took part in an eSports event.

It’s not just pointing to a specific genre either, as events featuring games like League of Legends, DOTA 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have each gotten their own level of attention, between fierce competition and the offering of big prize money – sometimes in the range of seven digits.

“I have watched eSports gamers grow from unknown kids with no money to their names, to a big business with paid teams and leagues, record-breaking stream numbers, seven-figure sponsorships, million-dollar prize winnings and global media exposure,” said Stan Press, managing director for Magid. “The eSports industry is primed to grow at an incredible pace over the next few years.”

The chart below shows a much more specific breakdown of eSports viewership, with the higher numbers coming from male gamers, although a strong amount of females tune in as well. What’s surprising about these numbers is how many older viewers tune in, with the 35-to-64 age group showing over 50 percent with both total mention and viewership.

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For that matter, this secondary chart also points out which video platforms are being used to watch eSports activities – and Twitch makes up a good amount of those, with 38 percent of viewers tuning in to some sort of competition on a daily basis.

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As far as what games players prefer to watch in action, EA Sports’ FIFA soccer games topped the list by 51 percent, followed by Call of Duty at 43 percent, and League of Legends andSuper Smash Bros at 41 percent each.

ESports is definitely going a long way in 2016. Even ESPN, a channel that once considered it to be not of interest, recently introduced a new division devoted to the online competitions, which could easily spread over into its TV programming in the months ahead – just as it did withHeroes of the Dorm last year.

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