eSports, fastest growing segment in sports industry: Nielsen

The eSports fan base is growing at a rapid pace, with now 14 percent of all Americans aged thirteen and older engaged in the segment, notes a recent report from Nielsen.

The 2nd annual report from the research firm, titled the “2016 Nielsen eSports Report”, takes a comprehensive look into consumer interaction with eSports in the US.

“eSports is no longer a niche activity—it’s one of the fastest growing segments of the entire sports industry,” said Nicole Pike, director of Nielsen Games.

According to the report, 77 percent of all eSports fans are males and 61 percent are millennials.

They are all more tech-savvy, with eSports fans twice as likely to stream traditional sporting events online, as opposed to non-eSport fans.

They are also three times more likely than the average American to be fans of combat / fighting sports, racing, and U.S./ European football (soccer), which are also the three most popular genres of sport video games.

Earlier this year, esports executive Borislav Borisov said he expected eSports cash-betting to turn over $10 billion by 2018 and $24 billion by 2020.

Annual competitive events and prize pools have been nearly doubling since 2012, with over 16,000 annual tournaments offering over 65 million in prize money this year, said Borisov, chief operating office of UltraPlay.

“Denying esports is denying this generation… It has the potential to become the “soccer” of the post millennial generation,” said Borisov.