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Getting serious about esports Identifying off-season digital engagement opportunities for sports

Report by Alistair Taylor
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The 20,000 Foot        has expedited the need for rights holders and teams to generate digital engagement beyond the pure play live broadcast. Games and esports became big attention economy winners during the early stages of the pandemic and first lockdown. Rights holders desperate to maintain connectivity with fans looked to esports to drive engagement and maintain relevance. The pandemic has acted as a catalyst, forcing rights holders to adapt to evolving digital consumption habits. Non-live sporting formats present unique revenue and engagement opportunities, and are currently under-utilised. Esports provide rights holders the potential for year-round connectivity.

Key Insights

  • Esports is only a sub-segment of the wider games opportunity open to rights holders
  • Games offer rights holders a more effective medium through which to engage with an audience less inclined to linear consumption
  • In               year olds were ten times more likely to watch esports than        year olds, and        percentage points more likely to watch games videos respectively
  • Currently, only within soccer does a virtual game’s title have high penetration, with        of soccer fans playing EA’s FIFA
  • Off-season windows thus offer lucrative periods to generate, retain and drive engagement with fans through games initiatives such as licensing and esports tournaments

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Arizona Cardinals, Electronic Arts, Endeavor, Epic Games, FIFA, Fortnite, Fox Sports, Fox, IMG, iRacing, League of Legends, Madden NFL, Momentum, Munster, Nascar, New York Giants, NFL, Pizza Hut, R/GA, Rocket League, Super Bowl, Verizon, Yahoo!

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