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2016 Nielsen eSports Report Highlights Rapid Growth in Fandom of Professional Competitive Gaming

Industry-leading research takes a fan-centric view of this emerging pastime, offering marketers an extensive look into audience behavior

New York, NY – Nov. 4, 2016 – Today Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN) announced the release of the 2016 Nielsen eSports Report, a comprehensive look into consumer interaction with one of the fastest growing past-times in the U.S. The second annual report is the most robust of its kind, offering unique and valuable insights into the now 14% of Americans aged 13 and older who are avid fans of eSports, including how eSports fans compare and overlap with traditional sports fans.

The 2016 report offers a fan-centric view of eSports by combining Nielsen’s expertise in gaming, sports and entertainment with industry-leading research on buyer behavior and media consumption. The result for readers is a greater understanding of the size, profile and motivations of eSports fans, as well as the many online competitive gamers who take part in amateur eSports competitions. The report also features numerous valuable insights for brands hoping to engage with the rapidly growing eSports audience, including gaming behavior of eSports fans and how they perceive brand sponsorships and product marketing.

“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. “Nielsen’s 2016 eSports Report offers deep insights into what this growing audience looks like, as well as how it compares to traditional sports fans and what brands and marketers need to understand when trying to engage with them.”

Other key findings from the 2016 Nielsen eSports Report include:

  • Rapid Fan Growth – The eSports fan base has grown to 14% of all Americans thirteen and older – up from just 8% last year.
  • A Millennial (and Male) Majority – 77% of all eSports fans are male and 61% are Millennials.
  • Level of Engagement – eSports fans spend roughly four hours per week on eSports-related activities/entertainment.
  • Avid Streamers – eSports fans are twice as likely to stream traditional sporting events online as non eSports fans.
  • Live vs. Online Viewership – 71% of eSports fans stream events online, 40% have viewed on TV and 23% have attended an event in person.
  • Traditional Sports Preferences – eSports fans are three times more likely than the average American to be fans of combat/fighting sports, racing, and U.S./European soccer, which are also the three most popular genres of sports video games.


Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services for all devices on which content—video, audio and text—is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen also provides its clients with analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit


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