A live esports tournament in progress

China: Citizens Watch More Esports Than Sports

  • A new report published by the official state-run press agency, Xinhua, said that more people in China watch esports than do sports
  • Some 260 million Chinese citizens tuned in to watch esports and 213 million tuned in to watch regular sports
  • Newzoo says that China is the largest esports market in the world in terms of revenues

The phrase “esports is growing” is a borderline cliché these days. Usually one that mainstream media use as a foothold when they broach the topic of esports for the first time. Yet, China has a very good idea as to how many people are actually involved with competitive video gaming in the country. At least when it comes to streaming audiences.

According to a new report released by the Chinese government on Sunday, estimated 62% of China’s netizens participate in live streaming video. This encompasses every entertainment vertical, and no surprises there – it includes video games, and what we call esports.

Estimated 260 million Chinese citizens watch esports and tune in to get a glimpse of the latest action in Dota 2, Call of Duty, League of Legends, PUBG and more. Sports comes in second with 213 million people watching livestreams of live events, Xinhua reported.

One of the biggest draws recently was Travis Scott’s Fortnite concern. The event in total pulled in as many as 150 million viewers with 12.3 million participants.

China has no doubt been a driver of esports. In terms of revenue, China leads the way with $385.1 million expected in 2020 with North America second with $258 million, according to Newzoo. Yet, these forecasts are not set in stone and the actual economic windfall from esports can be much higher.

Newzoo on Esports in China

China is poised to grow through 2023 reaching $540.0 million in terms of revenue, a growth of around 17% each year. The country is also expected to host the largest esports audience – 162.6 million according to Newzoo.

This figure conflicts with the numbers posted by the official report by the government, but Newzoo probably means “esports enthusiasts,” i.e. frequent esports viewers whereas China may have only considered those tuning in even briefly.

Remer Rietkerk, head of esports at Newzoo, has acknowledged that esports is changing in new and exciting ways. Ways that require from Newzoo to keep its model fresh and open-minded, Rietkerk noted.

Newzoo recently revisited its outlook for esports in 2020, citing the COVID-19 outbreak as the reason why. Newzoo also signed a data partnership with social media network Reddit last week in pursuit of new insights.

Thumbnail image credit: Wikipedia Commons

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