Nielsen Esports: ‘The Esports Playbook’
Recently, the world famous data and research company Nielsen completed an “in-depth study into esports fan behaviors that will impact the growth and brand investments in the industry.” (Nielsen.com). With the future of esports looking bright, many corporations are wondering if now is the time to jump into a booming industry, and if so what sector will be the best possible fit. The study by Nielsen on the US, UK, Germany and France is divided into multiple sections including audience, games, genera and brands. Taking a look at some of these points will show Nielsen’s most interesting findings.
To understand the phenomenon of esports, it’s necessary to look at the audience the content is being produced for. Nielsen’s findings show 71% of esports fans are male, and to many peoples’ revelation 61% of these followers are also fans of traditional sports. Although young men are not alone in the gaming world they are the vast majority consuming the market, leading companies to focus on their interests and needs above all else. Demand has shifted, forcing many companies to adapt to new ways to ensure their future in the world of gaming.
The time people are spending playing videogames is soaring as the years go by. With access to more games, covering diverse interests, the community of esports fans continues to grow. The average esports fan was found to spend nearly double the time playing video games as they do watching TV. A staggering 8.1 hours playing on average every week has led companies to see the importance of getting their names embedded into the world of esports. Although TV was once seen as the best way to reach the young generation, it has now become obvious that there are multiple platforms equally suited for approaching this client segment.
The shift away from the television industry left companies scrambling to find a way back into the scene. Leading providers such as TBS Network, Disney and ESPN have now begun showing esports related content on their channels with the hopes of drawing their audiences back into the world of television, by giving them a chance to watch their favorite esports teams or players with relative ease. By August 2017, the amount of time of esports content shown on TV had already surpassed all of the 2016 content. These numbers will continue to increase as the esports world becomes more mainstream in today’s society.
Corporates around the world have noticed the increasing popularity of esports and are racing to get their share of the action. The esports world offers a large variety of sponsorship possibilities from live events, teams/players, online engagements and equipment; there is seemingly space for everyone. Although it has been rumored esports fans are not accepting corporate sponsorship, Nielsen states, “The data from the four major Western markets, suggests otherwise, 50-60% of respondents have favorable responses towards brand involvement in tournaments, streams or esports events. Less than 10% gave a negative response to brand activity.” The most dominant and excepted companies in the market are tech companies, followed by Internet service providers, energy drinks and carbonated beverages/junk food. These brands seem to be paving the way for other companies to begin the journey into the ever-growing market.
The research Nielsen has provided to the world pushes the legitimacy of esports. The market is booming, fans are begging for more and everyone is taking notice. If companies are able to provide what participants and fans are demanding, then this is a scene which could very easily go from being obsolete in the mind of so many to a full blown industry the world will envy.