BLOG | by Sara Eddleston

COVID-19 – Increase in Consideration for esports among men is enough to double current audience size

Last week, we asked the British public what content they’d like to see in place of live sport. While the headlines were informative, it was only when you got into the weeds that the real insights began.

This week, we’ve looked a bit further into one of the areas we explored in that piece – esports.

Competitive esports is one of the horses backed to fill the gap left by live sport, assuming that traditional sport itself doesn’t find a way to get games on soon.

So we asked whether British people are more or less likely to consider watching esports now that a partial lockdown is in effect across the British Isles.

One of the biggest take-aways from our research is that esport has some way to go before it closes the gap on traditional sports in terms of awareness. More than half (51%) of all respondents told us that they hadn’t heard of esports, rising to 61% among women.

But before esports organisers get too disheartened, let’s once again dig into the detail a bit more.

Looking at those who had heard of esports, there are much more encouraging numbers.  For example, 20% of men among this subset tell us they are now more likely to think about watching.

Given the relative size of audience for the so-far niche sector (just 164,000 Brits tell us that they watch esports at least once a week), if esports can convert just a tiny fraction of this 20% to regular watchers, the sector would be well on its way to doubling in size.

Similarly, this segment of the data tells an encouraging story among younger respondents too. Across both sexes, 18% of 18-24-year-olds tell us that they are now more likely to consider watching esports. But even more striking is that more than a quarter (26%) of 25-34-year-olds say the same (compare this to just 9% of those aged 55+).

So, while there are still structural barriers in the way, this data suggests that if the solutions can be found during this hiatus, an audience is out there waiting for the right esports offer.  Who – or what – will step up to the challenge?

Photo © Philipp Keller

BLOG | by Sara Eddleston

General Manager

Sara has over 20 years’ experience in the global market research industry. Since joining YouGov Sport in October 2016 she has lead the consumer insight division, maximising the benefits offered to clients through the company’s advanced range of research techniques and its unique partnership with YouGov. In March 2018, Sara moved in to the position of General Manager.