Esports Segmentation

The latest results from Leger research conducted in September 2018 confirm what many already know about the esports viewing audience:  Among the US population, more than three in five (62%) adults report being aware of esports (which jumps up to 73% among $100K households), with one in five (21%) overall citing they have watched an esports event. While it is not a surprise to see the viewing audience lean heavily toward males, the latest research from Leger shows one in three esports viewers are women.

At the Esports Business Summit (EBS) held in Las Vegas in early October, the following common themes were threaded across multiple sessions throughout the event:

  • Being relevant and transparent when communicating with the esports audience is an absolute must.
  • Big-Data, particularly social media metrics, has a critical application in this space.
  • Non-endemic brands looking to enter the esports space are timid to do so because of their fears around making catastrophic errors along the way that can exhaust time and resources to recover.

One of the reasons why companies fail in their messaging efforts, whether it is toward the esports audience or any target audience for that matter, is due to the limited data they have in their arsenal, which is mainly in the form of demographic information (white males under 30 with $50-75K HHI).

Companies need to go beyond the simple demographics and understand the behaviors, attitudes, and motivations of their target market so that future messaging can resonate with their intended audiences on a deeper level.

To this end, the Leger team took a unique approach to analyzing data from its June omnibus on esports and “let’s play” viewers, and segmented them into four groups based on their attitudes toward gaming and life:

1. A segment that is warming up (30%) to esports,

2. A segment that is moderately entrenched (27%) in esports,

3. A segment that is all in (19%) when it comes to esports, and

4. A peripheral segment (23%).

These segments have different levels of delivery channels for viewership (YouTube, ESPN, Twitch, TBS, Twitter, Yahoo!, and Facebook); furthermore, the level of interest for genres of esports viewership differs by each of these segments.

The June omnibus data showed esports viewers, overall, report a median spend of $25 on Fortnite V-Bucks. On the other hand, when broken out by these four segments the median spend shows a different picture for the warming up ($20), moderately entrenched ($10), all in ($55), and peripheral segment ($0).

We know the esports viewing audience is especially loyal, with a vast majority indicating they would watch an esports event again. However, the level to which ‘somewhat/very/extremely likely to watch in the future,’ is cited by these four segments are: 46%, 95%, 95%, and 24% (respectively). Moreover, there is further differentiation of these segments when looking at the level who are ‘extremely likely’ to watch again (7%, 19%, 60%, and 1%, respectively).

Simply put, the esports viewing audience is not homogenous. Therefore, it is essential for companies to look beyond demographics and learn about the behaviors, attitudes, and motivations of this burgeoning audience so that companies can be poised with the confidence and ability to enter the esports market, and positioned for success in doing so.

If you have any questions about how segmentation (esports or otherwise) can help your company/brand, feel free to email me at