Newzoo’s latest quarterly update of Global Market Esports Report states that the number of worldwide consumers who will be aware of esports by the end of this year will exceed one billion.
A total of 16 countries were part of the research that went into these findings, and it showed that the average awareness among gamers increased from 53.7% in 2015 to 65.7% in 2016. The awareness figure of one billion is a major increase of 36% from last year.
There are naturally a number of contributory factors. A hugely extended coverage from global and local media played a big role. The launch of Yahoo Esports and ESPN’s coverage in addition to many other smaller media outlets picking it up has seen the esports name out there as something of a marketing buzzword this year. This is in addition to one off pieces from other major media corporations.
There’s also been an intensified effort from game publishers, as well as the launch of numerous new leagues and events which have accelerated global exposure beyond initial expectations. The ELEAGUE, for instance, will maximise exposure as it’ll be the first time any esport has been given a regular television slot courtesy of Turner Broadcasting. ESL is also launching a 24/7 channel in Baltic and Nordic countries which are something of a European stronghold for esports fanatics. Poland for instance is host to the IEM Katowice, which is the biggest week long esports event worldwide.
In addition the surge in esports awareness has created momentum for local esports efforts. An increasing amount of local esports federations are pushing for esports to be recognised as a job, which helps esports athletes with regulatory issues, such as VISA applications. Recent efforts in France for example go a long way in establishing the industry and giving it some authority; players will start to be treated as professionals in their field and this is vital for the continued growth of esports as a whole.
Esports leagues are also becoming increasingly local, with university leagues leading the way in creating offline local competitions whilst companies such as Gfinity host regular offline tournaments aimed at both amateurs and pros, and draw a decent crowd.
In terms of esports enthusiasts Newzoo has adjusted its audience figures upward, from 131 million Esports Enthusiasts to 148 million in this latest report. Combining this with occasional viewers, classed as those who watch less than once a month and generally only tune in for the major events, the total audience is 292 million. The spread of these enthusiasts can be seen in the infographic below.