How streaming is boosting esports

French YouTuber and streamer Squeezie looks on during the ‘Zevent’, the marathon of video games for charity with 54 hours of live gaming with 50 streamers in Montpellier on September 20, 2019. In 2023, streamed esports content reached 2.76 billion hours viewed, according to a report from GameSquare and Stream Hatchet. — AFP

Whether on specialist platforms like Twitch or on other popular social networks such as TikTok, video games are enthralling audiences.

So much so that esports viewing has jumped by 75% since 2020, in terms of hours watched, according to one report. And behind this success lies the power of streaming.

In 2023, streamed esports content reached 2.76 billion hours viewed, according to a report from GameSquare and Stream Hatchet. While viewers watched 1.58 billion hours of esports content in 2020, this has grown by 75% in three years, reaching 2.35 billion in 2021 and 2.65 billion in 2022. Viewership is therefore increasing year-on-year.

When it comes to sports events more broadly, viewership on streaming platforms is growing too. Twitch and YouTube accumulated over 150 million hours watched in livestreaming, an increase of over 2,100% since 2022, reports the study.

This has been boosted by successful events like King’s and Queen’s League soccer, run by Gerard Piqué and Ibai Llanos, bringing together professional soccer players and content creators, the report says.

On Twitch, "Thursday Night Football," the day of NFL games, gained over 4 million hours watched in 2023.

User-generated content

To popularise esports content, publishers no longer hesitate to call on content creators to co-stream tournaments on their own channels. According to the report, the audience generated by costreaming has grown from 10% in 2020 to over a third of the market in 2023.

Streamers have also taken advantage of this by turning to “simulcasting”. This activity involves broadcasting content simultaneously on several platforms, such as Twitch or TikTok. By analysing the audience of three creators, Ninja, Willeyrex and TheGrefg, Stream Hatchet discovered that the average audience increased by 68.9% across all platforms, “indicating that for every 1,000 viewers on one platform, an additional 700 viewers were reached per minute on another”. – AFP Relaxnews

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