eSports for the Win!

Canadian fan base continues to grow providing huge opportunity for brands online.

eSports continues to see significant growth in Canada as a revenue-generating entertainment vehicle. With organized tournaments, regional and international teams and a highly engaged fanbase, a whole new marketing opportunity for media, agencies and brands has emerged.

Last week during IAB Canada’s Community Uninterrupted webinar series, we were joined by Rahul Sethi, Director of Insights and Marketing from Vividata as he took us through Vivintel’s 2020 Sports & eSports study. Sethi shared with us a fascinating overview of the recent growth of eSports, as well as fan profiles (including attitudes and options), the types of media used to consume eSports, along with a multitude of other revealing insights.

Since 2019, an additional 1.3 million Canadian adults have jumped on the eSports bandwagon equating to a whopping total of 5,665,000 fans in 2020. This growth should not be surprising at all considering the coverage of eSports just keeps growing and new partnerships with traditional sports leagues are popping up everywhere. The NBA recently took advantage of this opportunity when they capitalized on the 48% increase of Canadians following basketball after the Raptors win with their creation of NBA 2K20. This exciting eSports league provided an opportunity for fans and players alike to connect while traditional sports were put on hold as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together the new and old are working together to grow their prospective fan bases all while creating a natural crossover resulting in even more opportunity for brand partnerships.

The myth that these fans are also predominantly male was officially busted in 2020 with a recorded 50/50 gender split.

Engaging regularly online, 31% of eSports fans report that they follow on average once or twice a week. Their main sources for streaming include YouTube Gaming and Twitch, with traditional broadcasters and Facebook starting to join the scene. These loyal fans follow eSports roughly 2.4 hours a week on a variety of devices including TV at 76%, 63% laptop, 61% smartphone, 59% tablet, and game console at 49%. Sethi also noted that within this highly engaged online audience, 60% are likely to notice sponsors and 43% are likely to buy a sponsor’s product or service.

The eSports community was built in digital and presents a great opportunity for brands trying to reach this unique and ever-growing audience. IAB Canada members can listen to the entire presentation here.