Understanding The Esports Viewing Demographic


By Alexander Sims

Esports continues to grow with every passing year—whether it’s the creativity of genres, or introduction of technology like Virtual Reality. In fact, VentureBeat reports that Esports is on track to achieve its $1 billion revenue milestone by the end of this year. And although these turbulent times have temporarily prevented people from hosting big events in stadiums, this doesn’t mean Esports itself has reached a standstill. Several major competitions, such as Activision-Blizzard’s Call of Duty League, the FLASHPOINT league, and Valve’s The International are all pushing through with their matches—although all online. 

As of August 2019, DataReportal research estimates that nearly 1 billion unique users watch Esports, which is over 22% of the current internet population. That being said, the Esports demographic is alive and well. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the market, and what it means for its organizers, game rosters, and the like.


Despite the fact that most Esports players retire at the age of 25, its viewer demographic is much older than you would expect it to be. Another study by Gaming Street found that the median age for US viewers is 29, with 39% of the total audience in the 25 to 34-year-old range. This implies that Esports, or online games in general, are no longer limited to a younger audience. True enough, Foxy Games’ extensive gaming catalog spans titles inspired by classic board games, as well as titles based on famous TV shows—a testament to how the realm of online gaming is no longer restricted to a niche group. For instance, titles like The Sausage Party are meant to click with millennial players, while the Deal or No Deal and Wheel of Fortune games cater to older audiences. 

Additionally, Esports saw an opportunity to further broaden its reach by tapping into mobile gaming—a platform that’s more accessible than PC or console. According to an industry report by Niko Partners, mobile Esports made $15.3 billion last year, comprising nearly 25% of mobile gaming’s entire revenue. This is also reflected in the million-dollar prize pools found in some of the biggest tournaments, like Hearthstone and Arena of Valor.


Aside from adopting new platforms, there has been a huge push to include more non-traditional gaming titles to further expand Esports’ global viewership. So far, the community has been successful with one game in particular: online poker. This is long overdue, as millions of people have been playing online poker for years. Major online poker hosts have even been hosting online tournaments with legitimate cash prizes. 

However, it was only until recently that the game was seriously considered for Esports. Game developer Aftermath Interactive is leading the movement by hosting their poker title, Hands of Victory, on a third-party Esports hosting site called Toornament. While it's still in its testing phase, we’re hopeful about the future of poker. 

Other online games that look very promising for Esports include mind sports like online chess, virtual reality games like Arizona Sunshine, and civilization games like Age of Wonders.


As legacy Esports titles, such as Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, continue to dominate, the growth of alternative gaming titles and platforms are also creating a more diverse online gaming world. All in all, the biggest reason for Esports’ continuous growth is its ability to adapt to the ever expanding consumer demographic, whether it’s by acknowledging other platforms or considering unconventional titles. Truly, it’s exciting to see what other surprises Esports will bring.