Loadout’s overview of the global esports market

Daniel Offen, Insight & Data lead at Unlocked/Loadout, offers a glimpse at some of the data available in Loadout’s study on esports and gaming behaviours, attitudes and habits.

Loadout market report
Image credit: Loadout

Esports is now big business and with large portions of the online population conceptually interested in watching, there is significant potential for further growth. Using Loadout data, this article will lay out the global state of esports and the levels of interest amongst fans.

It’s been a long time since esports was relegated to a niche interest that enthusiasts would have to explain conceptually at length to confused relatives. Globally, 59% of 16-64 internet users are aware of esports conceptually, with this increasing to 71% when looking at those who play games.

ESI London 2024

This increased awareness has meant that interest levels in esports overall are now at levels that bedroom enthusiasts 20 years ago wouldn’t have dreamed of; 29% of all 16-64 internet users globally now say they’re interested in watching esports.

Interest is particularly high in Latin America, where 47% of the online population are interested in esports. APAC follows with 38%. And North America and Europe show slightly lower levels at 25% interested, though this is offset by a higher percentage of the total population having internet access meaning the overall numbers of fans are similar.

Globally, esports remains behind traditional sports with 45% of online 16-64s interested in sport – though this difference is much less than might be expected. This isn’t a mutually exclusive interest, with many esports fans also passionate about traditional sport; over half (55%) of esports fans are also interested in watching sport. Regionally, the gap between traditional sports and esports differs, with interest rates for watching sports consistent but esports interest twice has high in LATAM and SEA (20%) as it is in Europe (10%). 

Loadout data also allows us to view esports fandom as more than a single metric. The below diagram shows the pyramid of global esports fandom, with each level seeing an increase in their devotion to the medium.

loadout report infographic
Image credit: Loadout

The bottom level shows those totally unaware of esports, 42% of the 16-64 online population. Above that is those who have heard of esports but aren’t interested (29%). The esports audience consists of the remaining 29% of the population: those who are interested in esports, but don’t watch at least once every two weeks (7%) and those who are interested and watch at least once every two weeks (22%).

Finally, 6% of the population can be termed ‘Esports Obsessives’, they’re the most serious fans in the top group, who consider themselves very interested in esports and watch at least once a week for a couple of hours.

While the esports obsessive group is small as a percentage of the total population, it consists of many people and compares well to even the total fanbase of some established sports. Focussing just on the US & Canada, 6.6m people can be classified as ‘Esports Obsessives’.  

Loadout Esports & Gaming, produced in collaboration with GWI is the world’s deepest study on esports and gaming, fielded in over 15 markets. It provides clear demonstrations of both the scope of the global gaming market as well as in-depth audience profiling capabilities.

Supported by Loadout