Survey: 42 Per Cent Of Esports Viewers Don't Play The Games They Watch

Photo via Sam Churchill on Flickr

Not everyone who watches the Super Bowl plays football, and it turns out the same is true for the League of Legends World Championship. According to research done by analytics firm Newzoo, 42 per cent of esports viewers surveyed do not actually play the games they watch.

Specifically, Newzoo studied the esports viewing habits of people in 10 different Western countries: the United States, Canada, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Sweden. Their findings focused on three heavy-hitters in esports: League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Because almost half of these viewers don't play the game that they watch, Newzoo speculates that esports live-streams and commentary provide a source of engagement for "lapsed" players who don't have the skills to keep up with the pros. Newzoo also found that 70 per cent of esports viewers only focused on following one game in particular, with League of Legends raking in the highest share.

Newzoo also found that Overwatch viewership has exceeded Dota 2 viewership in the Western countries surveyed. The people who play Overwatch without following the competitive scene still outnumber those who watch pro players, however.

In any case, if you were feeling guilty that all you do is watch pro gaming and you don't still play anything yourself, absolve yourself because you're not alone.

Update: A previous version of this article misrepresented the total number of esports viewers and players. Newzoo estimates that there are 191 million esports enthusiasts and 194 million occasional viewers globally in 2017.


    You'll probably find the amount of people that watch LetsPlays for games without playing the games themselves is rather high too. I guess some people just like to live vicariously through others.

    Asssumedly it would be the same for practically every sport? I don't drive a F1 car but I watch them race.

      Bit of a different barrier of entry between F1 racing and playing Counterstrike though.

        The difference between a casual player playing Counterstrike and Professional player is about the same as a standard road user and F1 Driver though. For myself I like to watch the best in the world take on each other.

          We're not talking about the difference between watching an amateur vs watching a professional though. We're talking about the difference between watching someone perform an activity you can partake in versus watching someone perform an activity you probably can't, and whether you yourself partake in said activity.

    On the flipside I struggle to care about any e-sport unless I'm familiar with the game being played, and even then probably won't care unless a friend is competing.

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