eSports fans watched doubled 2012 viewing

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Watching esports

How much do people watch eSports? If we judge by the lazygamer office, not much at all. However, the guys are clearly out of the norm – gamers wracked up 2.4 billion hours of eSports viewing in 2013.

IHS Technology did research into eSports viewing and have found that numbers have doubled since 2012 reaching 2.4 billion hours in 2013. Yes, billion; that equals approximately 273 973 years. Those viewers have equated to some pretty big marketing budgets, with eSports generating over $32.8 million in online advertising revenue. That number is set to grow by over 250% by 2018.

There is no doubt, eSports is big business. Is it a bubble that will burst? Maybe. But so far we have simply seen exponential growth, a growth that monetisation hasn’t kept up with:

As with many popular forms of online content monetising esports viewing is currently laging behind consumption, but this is set to change as esports is particularly well suited to programmatic video advertising – the fastest growing part of the online advertising market.

The largest audiences are for League of Legends, Dota 2 and StarCraft 2, although I predict that Hearthstone might break into the eSports scene once spectating and shout casting become the norm. Twitch continues to be the home of streaming and scheduled programming is becoming more common. As it becomes more mainstream, it’s only a matter of time until all the usual advertisers jump on the bandwagon, showing their ads during key tournaments. Imagine how much Valve could demand for adverts during the stream for The International finals. Forget the Super Bowl, we might see the best display of advertising expenditure during top eSports competitions.

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I can’t help but wonder if eSports, like indie gaming, will have to collapse and equalise at a certain level, or if it will just keep growing. Could we really see it overtaking traditional sports viewing?

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Last Updated: June 4, 2014

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let's get on with it!

  • Admiral Chief Kilo

    Speaking about Dota, are we going to be jamming another Lagz session soon?

    It was quite fun Friday night, its nice playing with people not insulting your spawner’s birthing apparatus

    • Hammersteyn

      That’s because you played it wrong 😛

      • Admiral Chief Kilo

        Or right!

    • Grant [_G_] Hancock

      Was indeed fun 🙂 .. pity I could only play one game with ya’ll

  • Hammersteyn

    Overtake Rugby or Football? Nope. Especially since the Boks are playing Saturday.

    • Mark Treloar

      In case Zoe is wondering we are referring to actual football played by the entire world using feet.

      • Hammersteyn


  • I enjoy watching eSports. More than playing.
    Especially love to watch sc2. It’s like my Rugby.

    Even my girl watch it with me, and see doesn’t even play sc2.

  • RinceofThis

    Zoe, have you seen how much the dota pool is up to?!

  • Rags

    The Sports bubble already burst. Now its just casual games that are better monetized. Apart from SC2. 😛

  • MichaelMatusowsky

    Won’t ever take over the World Cup but it will get up there somewhere.

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