Newzoo: 42% of Dota, League and CS:GO viewers don’t play the games

Research and analytics firm Newzoo has released its latest findings on esports, this time with a specific focus on the viewers and their habits in ten focal Western countries.

These countries are: the U.S., Canada, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, and Sweden. The analysis this time around is focused mainly on tier one titles League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), and Dota 2 but also includes a comparison with multi-platform games Overwatch and Hearthstone. 

Key figures from the report suggest the following: 

  • 191 million consumers will watch esports frequently in 2017;
  • 194 million will watch esports occasionally; 
  • 42% of League of Legends, Dota 2, or CS:GO viewers do not play the game;
  • 26% of League of Legends’ fans and 30% of CS:GO’s fans are viewers only and do not play the game;
  • League of Legends has 11.8% and CS:GO a 9.4% reach amongst all mobile, PC, or console gamers and/or viewers;
  • Dota 2 does not rank as highly due to huge popularity in South East Asia and Russia; 
  • 70% of fans exclusively watch one of the big three esports titles;
  • 36% of League of Legends viewers don’t watch either CS:GO or Dota 2; 
  • 4.4% of Dota 2 fans watch over 15 hours of competitive Dota action a week, however 35% of Dota 2 fans consume over 15 hours in total of esports action.

Newzoo Senior Market Analyst, Jurre Pannekeet, told ESI: “It’s not surprising that 42% of League of Legends, Dota 2, or CS:GO viewers haven’t played one of these games in the past three months.

“League of Legends, Dota 2, and CS:GO each have a large gaming community and following, so a lot of these viewers/gamers have played these titles at some point. For game publishers, esports has been a great way to keep lapsed players engaged and interested in their games. Gamers change the games that they play more quickly than the games that they watch, so esports provides a great opportunity to still enjoy a game one used to play in the past but in a more laidback way.” 

As to what this means for sponsors and advertisers, he continued: “For advertisers, it is key to understand what titles are popular and how popularity differs per region or country. There is no game that speaks to the entire esports community. Knowing how to reach your target audience through the right titles and addressing each title’s community effectively makes the difference between a failed or successful campaign.”

As ever with these type of reports it’s difficult to know the reliability of the precise findings, but the broad takeaways are key. For example that 70% exclusively watch one of ‘the big three’ is no great surprise but will reinforce the fact for outside sponsors looking in that esports is an umbrella term, and as such they should adjust their marketing campaigns accordingly. As an example, sponsors shouldn’t be looking to ‘enter esports’ but, for instance, to target CS:GO fans and create a campaign focused on this community. 

Esports Insider says: Interesting findings from Newzoo’s latest report. It shows parallels to traditional sports insomuch that not everyone participates in competition but they love spectating.