Among fans of the world's biggest three esports (League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive), 42% are spectators only: they don’t play the game they watch. And we use the singular advisedly: 70% of them watch only one of those games.
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That’s according to a blog post by esports analysts Newzoo. Their post explores three questions: How do some of the biggest esports franchises compare in terms of players and viewers? How big is the overlap between gamers and viewers? What is the overlap between franchises in terms of reach?
Though Newzoo focused mainly on the 'big three', they also include comparisons with Overwatch and Hearthstone. Their figures are aggregated across gamers in the USA, Canada, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
Some of their most interesting takeaways are:
- 30% of CS:GO fans, 26% of League fans, 20% of Dota 2 fans, 18% of Overwatch fans, and 18% of Hearthstone fans do not play the game they watch.
- Among the top three esports (League, CS:GO, Dota 2), 42% of their viewers don’t play the game they watch.
- League of Legends leads the way in terms of franchise reach, with an 11.8% share of "all gamers and/or esports viewers", followed by CS:GO on 9.6% and Overwatch on 9.4%.
- 70% of esports fans only watch one of the 'big three' esports franchises - League, Dota 2, and CS:GO.
- Dota 2 fans are the biggest esports viewers overall, with 35% of them watching more than six hours of pro gaming a week.
The post is well worth a read in full. The discussion on the CS:GO subreddit is interesting, with a few fans discussing their reasons for watching but not playing. Many of them, it seems, simply got tired after hundreds of hours of play, while TaylorSwiftTrapLord says "hardly anyone watching Monday Night Football actually plays or has played in the last 20 years. It honestly makes a lot of sense with esports as well."