*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on MediaPost.
With scarcely the kind of attention other sports marketing endeavors are receiving, esports is growing into a major platform for marketers. New research from Parks Associates shows that 10% of U.S. broadband households watch esports content on sites ranging from Amazon’s Twitch to YouTube, and 62% actually play an esports game for at least an hour a week.
“Esports is currently a niche market, but it has the ability to engage often hard-to-reach demographics,” says Hunter Sappington, a Parks research analyst, in comments accompanying the latest report.
“Esports is a young, dynamic, and fast-growing industry. While viewership of many traditional sports is waning, esports is well positioned to capture the attention of a generation that grew up playing video games.”
In some ways, esports is a perfect reflection of how sports and leisure changed with the internet: the report says 67% of viewers use computers to watch esports, followed by 45% using TVs and 34% using a smartphone.
Indeed, “real” sports and esports have twinned seemingly easily.
This year, the NBA helped start its own esports offshoot called the 2K League with partner Take-Two Interactive, with 17 teams competing in the first season that started in May.
Some brands have been quick to react. The Samsung Galaxy Pro-Game team has been a powerhouse in the League of Legends championship series. Coca-Cola, LG, Intel and IBM earned street cred with gamers by sponsoring major events.
Parks says the typical gamer is under 35 and, not surprisingly, up on the latest video trends and technology. They spend an average $47.23 on non-pay-TV video entertainment, the new study says, compared to just $22.97 for non-gamers.