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

Photo via Sam Churchill on Flickr
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 percent 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 percent 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 5/18/17 9:30 AM: 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.

Deputy Editor, Kotaku.

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“191 million people surveyed reported watching esports “frequently,” and another 194 million reported “occasionally” watching esports streams.”

Is this legit? I have never seen a survey on any subject in all the years of my life come close to this survey total, 10000 is considered fairly huge number and yet this one is so large it beggars belief (hence why im asking :p)