This year will be remembered as the year the eSports phenomenon reached a tipping point in how it is viewed by the Western world. The once niche past-time has finally secured its place in the mainstream media, with more and more brands realizing the endless opportunities it presents, both for those inside and outside the games industry.

Today, Newzoo launches a series of country reports, sizing and profiling the eSports audience in great detail for 18 countries across the globe: Sizing and Profiling eSports’ Popularity in Germany, Korea, Russia etc. More information, including a dummy version of the report, pricing and all variables available in the data component, is here:

The League of Legends world championship event, which occurred late last year at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, triggered the interest of American mainstream press. Following this, the rise of the eSports phenomenon, and the press attention that it receives, has accelerated rapidly. Valve’s DOTA 2 championship in July, The International, showed that viewership, prize money and press coverage have all doubled or tripled during the past year. The acquisition of Twitch by Amazon reflects the fact that eSports sits at the epicenter of a much larger trend in digital media: facilitating the consumers desire to not only experience, but also to actively create and share content. It is not surprising that all media and advertising-related companies, are evaluating the opportunities for and . . . possible threats to their business. Newzoo’s eSports Country Reports and Data aim to support smart decision making with a deep understanding of the consumers that are ultimately driving this trend.

One year ago, an eSports event in Madison Square Garden would have been unthinkable. In three weeks from now, the holy New York entertainment ground will host an ESL One DOTA 2 event organized by Turtle Entertainment. And this week, the same company announced they will fill the 18,000 seat SAP Center in San Jose, in the centre of Silicon Valley, for the Intel Extreme Masters featuring League of Legends and StarCraft. The rise of eSports continues.

Half of eSports viewers does not play

Based on our analysis of our consumer research results from the majority of eighteen countries, a surprising insight surfaces: approximately half of all eSports viewers does not play any of the well-known eSports franchises such as DOTA 2, StarCraft, League of Legends, World of Tanks and Call of Duty. Two reasons could explain this: first of all, there is a large group of gamers that prefer playing one of the smaller competitive game titles. Secondly, gamers that have started a family suddenly lack the time to spend playing the games but still enjoy the suspense provided by watching other gamers play on the highest level.

Thus, eSports viewers aren’t so different to the millions who tune in to Premier League & World Cup matches.. despite having retired or never picked up their football boots. When you consider the majority of this audience is young males, a demographic that is hard to reach through traditional marketing, it’s easy to see why brands such as Coca-Cola, RedBull Intel and T-Mobile are investing in this space.

Below are two examples how our eSports Reports and Data can be used with a special focus on TV and digital media subscriptions.

CNN viewers are the most likely to be eSports enthusiasts

When we look at the popularity of eSports amongst viewers of US TV channels, CNN comes out on top. Of all CNN viewers in the US, an impressive 23 percent either watch or participate in eSports: 5.5 million people. MTV & Cartoon Network have the second and third highest share of viewers that are involved in eSports with 21 percent and 18 percent respectively. ESPN, who recently discarded eSports as being irrelevant, ranks fourth.

eSports enthusiasts are twice as likely to have a paid Spotify account

It is not only important for big brands to realize that they can target a mass audience through eSports, but also to understand just how valuable this audience is in terms of willingness to spend on their (digital) products.

Through our research, we can quantify the eSports audience that currently owns a subscription to a number of services. In this case we examined Spotify, Netflix & HBO subscribers in the US, UK, Germany and France. Clearly, the eSports audience is more likely to have subscriptions to all three services than the general gamer population. For example, 22 percent of them are currently have a paid Spotify subscription compared to 11 percent of all gamers, this is 46 percent vs. 34 percent for Netflix and 35 percent vs. 21 percent for HBO. This group not only consumes more digital media than any other, but they are also willing to pay for it.

More information, including a dummy version of the report, pricing and all variables available in the data component, is here: