The Olympics hosted an esports event - who tuned in?

YouGov
August 20, 2021, 2:14 PM UTC

Any doubt about how popular esports has become was likely quashed after the International Olympic Committee hosted an esports event in the lead-up to the Games in Tokyo. 

According to recent YouGov research, 13% of consumers across 17 global markets tuned into at least a portion of the Olympic Virtual Series Competition, which featured Gran Turismo car racing, Zwift cycling, eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020, and Virtual Regatta.  

Viewership in Middle East and Asian markets, such as India (33%), the United Arab Emirates (33%), Indonesia (27%), China (25%), Hong Kong (17%) was particularly strong. 

By contrast, viewership in North American and European markets was lower, with 9% of American consumers and just 2% of United Kingdom consumers indicating they’d watched the virtual games.  

The addition of the esports event to the Olympics proceedings was, without a doubt, meant to attract a  broader, younger audience, and it appears to have been successful. One in five (20%) consumers in the 17 global markets aged 18-24 said they tuned in, as did 22% of those 25-34. 

“I do think that esports will be part of the Olympics at some point. Absolutely,” Steve Arhancet, co-CEO and owner of Team Liquid, told the Los Angeles Times in August. “Absolutely. There are just way too many gamers. There’s too many people watching other people play video games. Gaming is now more ubiquitous with growing up. And it’s all up and to the right. That’s a fact. 

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Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of adults aged 18 and over in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 585 and2,065 for each market. All interviews were conducted online in July 2021. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples.