April 5 2019

6 things you need to know about esports

Thought Leadership, eSports

Noah Kolodny, Strategy VP

Over the past few years, esports has received significant media coverage, with new words entering the lexicon like Twitch and caster. With more coverage and popularity, esports has become an effective medium to reach millennial males. And with this demographic likely to have cut the cord, esports sponsorships offer a unique way to connect with that audience. As brands continue to engage more with the esports ecosystem, here are 6 things you need to know about the industry.


1. Esports is only a subset of gaming. Esports are organized multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players. Gaming is the action or practice of playing video games.

2. Brands need to understand the emotional connection that drives consumers’ intense passion for esports. Octagon’s proprietary esports Passion Drivers® research reveals that Leveling Up, the desire to improve your gameplay through watching esports, is the top factor for esports fandom.

3. Although esports receives the lion’s share of the media coverage, the esports industry pales in comparison to gaming. In 2018, esports was estimated to be an $865.1 million industry, while the global games market was 156x that at $134.9 billion. Further, there are an estimated 395 million esports viewers to 2.3 billion global gamers. (Newzoo)

4. Not all titles are going to drive significant viewership numbers. Globally, the most popular titles across Twitch and YouTube Gaming for live esports hours are League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, DOTA 2, and Overwatch. Of the top 25 esports titles, these games account for 77% of the hours watched. (Newzoo)

5. Streamers are driving the vast majority of viewership in gaming. On Twitch and YouTube Gaming, streamers broadcast their personal gameplay so others can watch, collectively generating a significantly larger audience than esports broadcasts. Last year, the top 10 most watched titles for non-esports  –streamers playing outside of organized competition– accumulated four times as many hours as the top 10 esports titles. (Newzoo)

6. Esports prize pools continue to escalate, providing added legitimacy to the industry. From 2010 to 2018, Newzoo data shows that global esports prize money has increased 2800%. The largest esports prize pool is DOTA 2 The International, which gave out $25.5 million in prize money in 2018, more than double the $12 million awarded to golfers at the U.S. Open the same year.