Nielsen Report Says 71% Think Esports Will Become Mainstream

Published: Oct 6, 2017 - Last Updated: Jan 31, 2023

Nielsen, a market research company that studies consumers in over 100 countries worldwide, has issued its first Esports Playbook. The report focused on the US, France, Germany, and UK and provides interesting findings on the esports audience from these areas. Most notably, 71 percent of respondents thinks esports will become a mainstream activity in the near future.

Known insights coupled with new ones

Nielsen’s Playbook focused on researching interests, consumption habits, and engagement of esports fans. It polled 1,000 respondents between 13 and 40 years old from each country.

Looking at fan behaviors in the regions’ competitive gaming scenes, the report contained some known facts coupled with new revelations. The finding that esports fans are mostly male and from the millennial crowd is obvious, but that they are just as engaged in traditional sports is a new one. While US esports fans like football, fans from the UK, France, and Germany show most interest in soccer as their traditional sport choice.

Additionally, according to the report, 600 sponsorship agreements have been made since the beginning of last year. The majority of these stem from technology fields, and the rest come from a mix of endemic and non-endemic brands.

An interesting finding from this section was the attitude toward brand involvement in esports. Across all four regions, 50 percent of respondents showed positive attitude toward brands. When it came to non-endemic brands, the research revealed fans have a slightly less welcoming attitude.

From the French crowd, for example, 31 percent of fans believe non-endemic brand involvement is not at all appropriate. German fans are a bit more tolerant, with 24 percent of the respondents showing a negative attitude toward these types of brands. The UK is even more welcoming with 22 percent and only 15 percent of US fans responding negatively.

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However, the finding that, across all investigated regions, the negative attitude toward overall brand activity is less than 10 percent is quite remarkable. This completely negates the theory that esports fans don’t like corporate sponsorships.

There is still hope for non-endemic brands

While not completely excited about non-endemics, the average fan appears adaptable toward accepting new brands. The report says:

“While these trends reflect general consumer preferences at a category level, the onus is ultimately on the individual brand to make a connection with the esports fan. It is this, more than category favorability alone, that will drive the success of an esports sponsorship activation.

“We’ve seen in the past that many non-endemic brands successfully started and continued partnerships in the industry. Some of these are Audi and JACK&JONES, both of which work with Astralis, the Danish esports organization.

“Resistance is highest to the involvement of insurance and financial services brands. With the notable exceptions of liquor and beer, consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands are generally seen as more appropriate than brands in the fast casual or delivery sectors.”

Nielsen’s move into the esports industry

The market research giant has shown great interest in generating analyses and reports for the competitive gaming industry.

Recently, the company launched its own esports division. The announcement was accompanied by a research report on the German esports market. Moreover, Nielsen has stated more reports will be issued soon. These will investigate the markets in Japan, China, and South Korea.

Dejan Zalik

Since: September 12, 2015

Dejan has been involved in gaming for over 10 years. Moving from classics like Diablo 2, Lineage 2, and Warcraft 3, he found his passion in Dota 2, which he’s been playing ever since. He also likes to keep up to date by reading and writing about whatever is happening in the industry.

See all articles from this author

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