Industry Announcements

New Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) Report Finds Esports Attracts Elusive, Highly Engaged Male Millennials

Sixty-five percent of people participating in esports are hard-to-reach, millennial males and are very receptive to brand advertising according to The Esports Report: The ‘Area of Effect’ For Marketers, a newly-released Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) study. The new report is a primer on the esports category that features visualizations of the ecosystem (players, games, leagues, events, media distributors, devices) and includes data on revenue, audience demographics and behaviors, multiscreen engagement and advertiser growth, as well as other valuable information for both novices needing to learn more about the category and marketing industry pros desiring a greater understanding of fan behavior.

Esports’ Growth Game

Esports is one of the fastest-growing, content-driven video platforms in the U.S. today and is experiencing double-digit annual growth in audience and revenues globally. According to The Esports Report: The ‘Area of Effect’ For Marketers, the global esports audience is soon expected to grow to over 500 million people and is projected to reach 654 million in 2022. By comparison, there are currently 139 million global Netflix subscribers and 447 million global subscriptions to online video services. In the U.S., 23 percent of esports fans began following the sport between 2017 and 2018.

Esports sponsorship, advertising and media rights revenues are projected to reach $1.5 billion by 2022, a 67 percent increase versus 2019 projections. In 2019, North America alone will generate $409 million of total global esports revenues.

Winning Fan Figures for Marketers

The new report also examines esports audience demographics, revealing a highly desirable target for marketers. The esports community is varied and includes audiences of working professionals, parents, as well as college students with disposable income. The majority of esports fans fall into the hard-to-reach millennial male demographic.

  • 65% of esports fans are millennials with an average age of 26
  • 62% are male
  • More than 87 U.S. colleges now have varsity esports programs and provide scholarships
  • More than half of fans (58%) 25-years and older live with children in their households
  • 43% of fans have an annual household income of over $75,000, with 31% having a household income of over $90,000
  • Esports fans are 30% more likely to be multicultural

Most esports fans are multidimensional and have a variety of interests beyond esports and video games including TV shows, music, movies and traditional sports. They have a positive attitude toward advertising and are willing to sample products from brands involved in esports.

  • 41% of players believe sponsors are critical to the success of esports
  • 63% definitely try products shown during esports games

Esports Expansion Teams: Platforms, Distribution and Brand Categories

Esports has evolved from a digital-only platform and has experienced major growth on TV leading to cross-screen programming and advertising opportunities.

  • More than 11 TV networks now present esports leagues and tournaments
  • In 2017-2018, there were more than 230 telecasts of esports programming on linear TV
  • More than 300 hours of esports programming aired on linear TV during 2017 and 2018, an increase of 46% versus the prior season
  • The median age of an esports TV viewer is 32, with a 63% male skew
  • Esports fans spend 4.3 hours watching TV weekly, compared to spending 2.4 hours with multiscreen esports content

This significant growth in viewership and increase of content access points has led to many non-endemic categories and brands getting into the esports game.

  • Over 90 major categories are now esports advertisers including financial, insurance, automotive, restaurant and telecommunications products and services, among others
  • Brands such as Casper mattresses, Chase, Geico, Kraken Rum,, Proctor & Gamble, Red Robin, Samsung, Toyota, Verizon and Universal Pictures have all expanded their marketing plans to include esports

Compelling Competitive Engagement

Esports platforms, such as Twitch, Bandai Namco and Activision Blizzard offer some of the highest engagement among millennial males based on time spent with the games and tournaments.

  • Twitch visitors who are male and 18-34 years old spend an average of 426 minutes each month on the platform – higher than Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter

Esports fans also make considerable time and resource commitments for their love of gaming.

  • Six out of 10 fans are willing to travel to see their favorite games, tournaments and player

“The dynamic esports community with its millennial male skew, delivers the passionate, desirable and elusive audience marketers covet,” said Jason Wiese, VAB’s SVP, director of strategic insights. “Our new report finds this audience to be multidimensional, willing to engage with a variety of cross-platform content across screens, and is brand loyal and highly receptive to integrated advertising campaigns.”

You can find The Esports Report: The ‘Area of Effect’ For Marketers full report here.

About the Video Advertising Bureau

The Video Advertising Bureau provides marketers with industry-defining data, actionable thought leadership and planning tools to navigate and optimize the ever-expanding world of premium multiscreen video content. In collaboration with our member partners, the VAB champions the undeniable power of premium video advertising.

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