U.S. Broadband Households Are Embracing Esports and Video Games, Parks Associates Says

One-tenth of all U.S. broadband customers are watching the new esports content form, while 62 percent spend at least one hour per week playing video games, according to new research from Parks Associates. Additionally, 62 percent of U.S. broadband households play video games at least one hour per week.


Esports is defined as professionally or semi-professionally organized competitive video gaming events, including popular gaming titles such as “League of Legends,” “Call of Duty,” and “Street Fighter.”  Growth of the new entertainment form has been robust, according to Parks Associates’ new industry report “Digital Natives: The Rise of Esports and the 360 Deep Dive Sports vs. Esports: Audience, Spending, and Consumption”.

“Esports is a young, dynamic, and fast-growing industry,” said Hunter Sappington, Research Analyst, Parks Associates. “While viewership of many traditional sports is waning, esports is well positioned to capture the attention of a generation that grew up playing video games.”

Although esports currently is a niche market, Sappington believes it has the ability to engage often hard-to-reach demographics. Parks Associates noted that the esports audience is typically younger male gamers under 35 with a tendency to be on the cutting edge of technology and trends.

Esports viewers spend more than twice as much money per month on non-pay-TV video entertainment content than non-viewers, with a monthly average expenditure of $47.23 compared to $22.97.

“For distributors, including pay-TV providers, OTT services, and social media platforms, esports represents an opportunity to complement existing content and grow the viewing audience,” Sappington said. “By participating in this market during its formative stage, pay-TV providers, networks, and other ecosystem players can influence the trajectory of the market and secure content rights to key events.”

Parks Associates’ report and consumer research examine the esports audience, including the size, habits, and factors that drive viewership, and things that make them different from non-esports viewers.

Additional data includes:

  • YouTube and Twitch.tv are the two most popular sites used to watch esports, with 61 percent of viewers saying that they watch on YouTube and 45 percent using Twitch. More than one-half of viewers use more than one platform to watch esports.
  • Forty-one percent of esports viewers say that they would be likely or very likely to pay for a subscription to watch esports events and content, and 39 percent of esports viewers are likely or very likely to pay to watch esports on a per-game or per-event basis.
  • Computers are the most popular device category used to watch esports—67 percent of viewers use computers to watch esports, followed by 45 percent using TVs and 34% using a smartphone.

(For more information visit www.parksassociates.com).