What does an esports fan look like?

16 May 2024


Daniel Offen, Insight & Data lead at Unlocked/Loadout, breaks down the compelling (and potentially surprising) demographic traits of esports fans.

Loadout gaming esports demographic review
Image credit: Loadout

For most of esports history, we’ve had a clear idea of what the fanbase looks like – young, male and techy. Continued growth in the sector, with now around 6% of gamers able to be classified as ‘Esports Obsessives’, had led to interest from outside these traditional heartlands. This slight diversification has led to shifts in both how people watch esports as well as their expectations of events.

Across this article, we’ll be looking at esports fans in North America and Europe, who watch one of the core esports titles (Dota 2, League of Legends, Counter-Strike, VALORANT, StarCraft 2 and Apex Legends) at least once every two weeks for at least a couple of hours.

ESI Lisbon 2024

Firstly, as expected, esports fans are far younger than the average gamer – with an average age of 33. This difference, however, is narrowing every year, as people tend not to age out of esports. This means that with each passing year the average age of esports fans increases by approximately 0.7. If current trends continue, in just over a decade, the average age of an esports fan will be roughly equivalent to a sports fan, which currently stands at 41.

The esports audience is still overwhelmingly male, and the more intense the interest level – the more male it becomes. While those watching at least an hour of a core esports title a week are 74% male, as we increase the time requirement to more than 5 hours this number increases to 84%. A figure of 16% of intensive esports fans being women, however, is still above the expectations of many and represents the gradual diversification of esports and gaming.

Loadout esports fan demographics
Image credit: Loadout

Esports fans are great commercial targets, represented by their higher-than-average household incomes. This figure, of 38% of fans being in the top 35% of incomes is impressive, because of the 8 year lower average age. Older people tend to have higher incomes overall, and are especially more likely to have higher household incomes as they settle into stable couples. When normalising for age, the disposable income for esports fans is significantly higher than comparable non-fans — proving that they’re a great target for brands which wish to attract affluent consumers.

This goes hand in hand with higher levels of education. Gamers, overall, tend to be more educated than the total population with esports fans even more well read than average; 52% are university educated, versus 36% for all gamers. Additionally, esports fans tend to have a different profile of attitudes to the total population. They’re, for example, 50% more likely to consider themselves career focused, 50% more likely to buy new tech products as soon as they are available and contrary to expectations, 27% more likely to describe themselves as social or outgoing.

Loadout’s data has the capability to show how esports fans differ across the world. Away from North America and Europe, the picture is familiar but has certain key differences. In LATAM, for example, the esports audience tends to be a little broader. While the average age is similar, there are more women involved in South American esports, with 34% of LATAM esports obsessive being female.

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.