A new report has revealed that 22% of male Americans aged between 21 and 35 watch eSports, which is more than watch ice hockey.
The research from Newzoo finds that eSports is most popular with males in the 21 to 35 year old category, and that in this age group eSports rivals both ice hockey and baseball in terms of popularity. eSports is however still a long way from beating the likes of basketball and American football.
The report also looked into how many people watch traditional American sports and eSports. 76% of eSports fans say that eSports is taking away time they would previously use to watch normal sports while six million of the 20 million eSports fans in the US say they do not watch any of the major American sports at all.
Interestingly 9.6 million basketball fans out of 80 million are interested in eSports as well, which could explain many big NBA names getting involved in the eSports scene. This does leave more than 10 million eSports fans who are not interested in basketball, which is a big potential market to reach.
“The huge interest in esports from sports celebrities, clubs, media companies, and brands alike illustrates how games are leading the media and entertainment business toward a new future that has more in common with games than not,” said Pieter van de Heuvel, Head of Esports at Newzoo. “Games bring innovation in tech and consumer business models, and have a unique ability to engage with and actively involve the younger generations. Traditional and digital media and sports companies bring experience in providing advertisers with an effective communication platform. There clearly is a natural, strategic, and commercial fit.”