The lights are on
This past weekend marked an enormous milestone for eSports, with two records smashed. The International 2013 Dota 2 Championships were held over five days, with Alliance coming away with the $1.4 million top prize.
During the event, $2.8 million in prizes were awarded. The $1.6 million pool was enhanced by player purchases of a $10 Compendium. The Compendium, a living event program that was updated throughout the weekend, was used to bolster the pot, with $2.50 of each purchase going to the prize pool.
This Sunday on Twitch, competitive gaming events including International 2013 and the Starcraft World Championship Series welcomed over 4.5 million unique viewers who watched over 550 million minutes of programming. The average viewer stayed for two hours (which means there are some people that were glued to their computers and mobile devices all day).
By comparison, nationally televised regular season NFL games bring in an average of 16.6 million viewers (via AdWeek).
Our TakeThe biggest weekend in eSports brought in 25 percent of the viewership of a regular season NFL game. Football has national awareness, strong team loyalties based on geography, and an immense marketing budget that makes it such that even non-fans know when a game is happening.
With just a small fraction of those resources, competitive gaming rallied a huge audience. eSports might not have the front of mind recognition that the NFL does every fall, but if growth continues, it soon may. 25 percent might not seem like a lot, but when you consider the huge difference in outreach, eSports fans have a lot to crow about.