Study: Only 28 per cent back eSports’ Olympic inclusion
Just 28 per cent of eSports fans want the pursuit to be included in the programme of the Olympic Games, according to a new study.
In a report produced by Nielsen, the US audience measurement company which launched a new eSports service last month, it was found that eSports fans in the USA, UK, France and Germany were lukewarm on the prospect of it becoming an Olympic event.
In April it was revealed that eSports would form part of the official sports programme for the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, as a result of the Olympic Council of Asia’s strategic partnership with Ali Sports, an arm of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce group that is investing heavily in sport and is also a sponsor of the International Olympic Committee.
Tony Estanguet, the co-chair of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, recently stated that he would not rule out eSports featuring on the programme of events when the French city hosts the games, albeit the IOC will have the final say on any additions to the games programme
As part of its ‘ESports Playbook’ report, Nielsen surveyed 1,000 fans, between the ages of 13 and 40 in all four countries.
However, it has to be noted that the report does not take into account Southeast Asia, a key gaming market where eSports has nearly 40 million followers, according to Newzoo, the eSports market intelligence group.
Of the 1,000 that were surveyed, 71 per cent were male and the average age was 26, supporting the long-held view that eSports fans are predominantly male and millennials (aged 18 to 37).
Male eSports fans were also found to be more likely to stream content compared with their female counterparts, with 36 per cent stating that they live-stream eSports more than once per week.
In Germany, eSports was reported to have the most established support as 51 per cent said they had followed it for four years or more.
In USA, it was found that fans were more conducive to sponsors, with a quarter claiming to be interested in following the social media accounts of an eSports sponsor and 58 per cent of fans reporting a positive attitude towards brand involvement in eSports.
Only 5 per cent claimed to have negative feelings towards brands.
In August, Nielsen launched its new eSports unit which it says will “will provide sponsorship valuation, fan insights, custom industry research and consulting services to rights-holders, media platforms and brands around the world that are moving this fast-growing market forward.”
The service includes Esport24, a syndicated sponsorship tracking service for eSports tournaments which, Nielsen said, “measures brand exposure in eSports tournaments representing a variety of titles, event formats and geographic locations based on the same methodology that allows traditional sports rights-holders and brands to quantify value and benchmark performance.”
Meanwhile, Kongregate, the USA-based games developer owned by Scandinavia’s Modern Times Group, has acquired fellow video game company Synapse Games.
Kongregate has purchased 100 per cent of the Chicago-based publisher which develops free to play strategy and collectible card games.
Synapse, which has collaborated with Kongregate in the past, will operate as an independent studio under its new ownership.
In June, MTG purchased Kongregate and revealed plans to acquire more “first party game developers”.
MTG has stepped up its involvement in the gaming and eSports sector and its portfolio includes DreamHack, a leading promoter and organiser, InnoGames, an online games developer and publisher, and ESportsTV.
Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG president and chief executive, said: “Synapse has developed some very popular titles and works closely with Kongregate, so it’s natural to bring such great talent under one roof. Synapse is growing fast and is already profitable. We are continuously growing our presence in online gaming and now have multi-platform capabilities in the US and Europe, a global audience network and an exciting pipeline of first party titles, with much more to come."