Esports Viewership Shows Threefold Growth Since 2017 but with Regional Variation

Esports Viewership Shows Threefold Growth Since 2017 but with Regional Variation

July 07, 2023: According to a recent report by Esports Charts, the total number of hours watched for esports tournaments has increased approximately threefold since 2017. The report compares viewership data from 2017 to 2022 and reveals a significant growth from 966 million hours watched in 2017 to 2.8 billion hours in 2022 (excluding Chinese viewership), representing a roughly 300% surge.

It is important to note that Esports Charts does not track viewership on streaming platforms in China, the most prominent esports market globally. This exclusion of Chinese data has a notable impact, particularly on esports titles with large Chinese followings, such as League of Legends.

Despite steady double-digit growth in esports viewership from 2017 to 2021, reaching a peak of 3.1 billion hours watched, there was a 6% decline to 2.8 billion hours in 2022.

However, it is crucial to recognize that the sources of this growth have not been uniform, and they have changed over time. Mobile esports viewership has been the primary driver of continued growth, increasing from representing 0.5% of total hours watched in 2017 to a significant 28% at the peak of viewership in 2021. This growth in mobile esports has been particularly prominent in Southeast Asia, where mobile-based titles enjoy more incredible popularity than PC-based ones. For example, in Indonesia, the report highlights a 5-6 times increase in the mobile esports audience over the last three years, primarily attributed to Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.

Furthermore, the report’s findings indicate that the titles fueling viewership growth have naturally changed. English-language broadcasts of the “big three” esports titles, namely League of Legends, CS: GO, and Dota 2, only increased their collective share of hours watched by 13% when comparing Q1 viewership from 2017 to 2023. Non-English language broadcasts likely played a significant role in boosting viewership figures.

The report concludes that understanding the viewership growth in esports requires recognizing that the overall industry’s growth is directly linked to the growth of its individual segments. It’s only sometimes the case that the most popular games worldwide experience the highest growth rates. Instead, local games and language segments often witness sharp jumps in popularity.

In summary, esports viewership has experienced substantial growth since 2017, with the total number of hours watched tripling. However, this growth has not been consistent across all regions and titles. Mobile esports has emerged as the main driver, particularly in Southeast Asia, while English-language broadcasts of the major esports titles have seen relatively modest growth. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for comprehending the diverse and evolving esports landscape.

Actionable Takeaways:

Acknowledge the significant growth in esports viewership globally, with total hours, watched increasing approximately threefold since 2017.

Recognize the influence of mobile esports on overall viewership growth, especially in Southeast Asia.

Understand that the growth of the esports industry is unique, with different titles and regions experiencing varying levels of popularity.

Consider the impact of non-English language broadcasts in driving viewership figures.

Stay informed about emerging local games and language segments that may experience rapid growth in popularity within the esports industry.

Note: The above news is written based on online resources.


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