The ‘e’ in front of esports implies that it’s in a different category altogether, with a separate audience and a separate culture. But eight in 10 esports viewers are already watching ‘traditional’ sports, showing that most esports viewers see it as an addition, not a replacement, to the entertainment they consume.
For those who aren’t familiar with esports, it encompasses organized competitions played on video games, from those based on real-life sports, like FIFA, or dedicated multiplayer games like the first-person shooter Overwatch, whose official Overwatch League got underway earlier this year. The league is structured as a franchise, which Activision Blizzard are hoping will let the industry expand with a stable roster of teams and investors, leading to long-term sponsorships and media income. A franchise model is something esports viewers are already familiar with, as 58 percent worldwide are following the NBA, and 42 percent are following the NFL.