How Esports are Changing the Game

by Parks Associates | Jul. 10, 2018

Traditionally defined as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment,” sports have begun to take a new form in the growing world of digital media. People of all ages participate as an audience or as competitors in esports, competitions played completely online. With the ease of sites like Twitch and Youtube’s Gaming Center, watching these events is as easy as pressing a few buttons. In comparison to traditional sports, which generally require audiences to pay in order to watch live, esports are free to stream online and, as a result, are drawing in the younger crowds who tend to reject traditional pay-TV services.

Parks Associates research finds that 10% of U.S. broadband households watch esports and 62% play video games at least one hour per week. Our newest report, Digital Natives: The Rise of Esports, identifies the average viewer: male gamers under the age of 35 who reside on the cutting edge of technology. While esports viewers stream for free, 41% of them say they would be likely to pay for a subscription to watch events and content, and 39% are very likely to pay to stream on a per-game or per-event basis.

With the rise of a new sporting outlet comes a rise of new athletes. No matter who you are, if you can press a button, you can learn to play and compete in games like “League of Legends” and “Call of Duty.” This brings a new wave of audience members who feel more connected with their chosen heroes, which creates spikes of content being watched. Traditional sports are definitely in for a match as the world of esports continues to grow.

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