“Esports is a billion-dollar industry that continues to grow and create new opportunities. At this rate, developing young gamer skills will soon be as common as pee-wee league football. Even parents seem to have come around and learned to accept that playing video games professionally can be a legitimate career.”
Brian Benway, Gaming and Entertainment Analyst

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • Key players in the gaming market for esports
  • Who watches esports, how viewership has trended and who participates in esports
  • Why gamers watch esports and opportunities for brands to engage them
  • How gamers discover esports events and the best channels for discoverability
  • Gamers who are most likely to be influenced by esports sponsorships and advertising
  • Gamers’ attitudes toward esports and opportunities for enhancing coverage

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Global esports revenue streams, 2022
    • Global events, local economy to have a (mostly) positive impact on esports
      • Figure 2: esports outlook, 2022-27
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Fantasy esports engagement without the gambling
    • Shaky return to in-person events
    • Travel and gaming esports lounge
    • Key consumer insights
    • Gamers’ interest in esports may have peaked with the pandemic
      • Figure 3: Past year participation – Watching sports, esports, gaming content, 2020-22
    • Most gamers want quick hits, but many will dig deeper
      • Figure 4: esports viewing habits, by gamer segments, 2022
    • Esports fans want to be better gamers themselves
      • Figure 5: Motivations for watching esports, by age, 2022
    • Word of mouth carries weight
      • Figure 6: esports discoverability, by age, 2022
    • Parents are major fans of esports games
      • Figure 7: Competitive and casual personal esports involvement, by gender and parental status, 2022
    • Higher education programs may fuel interest in esports
      • Figure 8: esports sponsor and advertising recognition, by education, 2022
  3. Esports Market Overview

      • Figure 9: Global esports revenue streams, 2022
    • Global investments speed growth of esports
    • Prize pools aren’t the end all be all determining factor
      • Figure 10: Top esports, by prize money, 2021
      • Figure 11: Top esports, by players and tournaments, 2021
    • College esports can boost schools appeal for prospective students
  4. US Video Games Player Overview

    • Expect mobile to remain a driver of growth in 2022
      • Figure 12: Video game devices played, by gamer segment, 2022
      • Figure 13: Console brands used, by gaming device usage, 2022
    • Most play weekly, but designing for segments may improve engagement
      • Figure 14: Active gamers’ play frequency, by gamer segment, 2022
  5. US Gamer Segments

    • Socializing, playing out story and achievement are top motivations
      • Figure 15: Top reasons for playing video games – Grouped by motivations, 2022
    • Mintel gamer segments
      • Figure 16: Gamer segments, 2022
      • Figure 17: Top reasons for playing video games, by gamer segments, 2022
    • Achievers – Characteristics and demographics
      • Figure 18: Primary Achievers, by key demographics, 2022
    • Explorers – Characteristics and demographics
      • Figure 19: Primary Explorers, by key demographics, 2022
    • Socializers – Characteristics and demographics
      • Figure 20: Primary Socializers, by key demographics, 2022
    • Competitors – Characteristics and demographics
      • Figure 21: Primary Competitors, by key demographics, 2022
    • Who are the Other gamers?
      • Figure 22: Other gamers, by key demographics, 2022
  6. Key Players in Esports: Teams and Games

    • Esports team popularity is driven by content
      • Figure 23: 10 most watched Twitch esports teams, May 2022
    • Top played games aren’t always the top watched
      • Figure 24: Games watched that other people play in the last 30 days, 2020-22
    • Sports games draw surprisingly diverse viewers
      • Figure 25: Gender distribution of top games watched that other people play in the last 30 days, 2020-22
  7. Market Factors

    • Esports returns to in-person events in 2022 after COVID-19 suspended play
      • Figure 26: Pro player Clayster on CDL kickoff classic return to in-person, 2022
    • Saudi Arabia ESL Gaming acquisition
      • Figure 27: FaZe Clan support for LGBTQ+ and Pride Month, 2022
    • Chinese government crackdown on under-18 gaming
  8. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • What Mintel’s 2022 Consumer Trends mean for esports; technological enjoyment everywhere
      • Figure 28: Consumer trends impacting esports
    • Make some room football, meet fantasy esports
    • Have controller, will travel
    • Beauty, strength and passion in esports
  9. The Video Game Consumer: Fast Facts

    • 40% of gamers watched esports in the past year
    • 42% of esports viewers prefer to watch highlights and recaps
    • 48% of viewers aged 18-24 are interested in watching the games they play
    • 46% of viewers hear about events from some form of social media
    • 31% of fathers play esports games competitively and casually
    • 72% of postgraduate viewers can recall brands that sponsor esports
  10. Watching Sports, Esports, Gaming Content

    • Esports viewership and participation returns to 2020 levels
      • Figure 29: Past year participation – Watching sports, esports, gaming content, 2020-22
    • Esports has a strong foundation of committed influencers to help promote
      • Figure 30: Recency of participation and interest in esports/ancillary gaming activities, 2022
      • Figure 31: Tether co-streaming solution, 2020
    • It should come as no surprise that Competitors are the most engaged
      • Figure 32: Past year participation and financial engagement with esports, by gamer segments, 2022
  11. Esports Viewing Habits

    • Esports fans want quick takes on important events for teams and players
      • Figure 33: esports viewing habits, 2022
    • Options tailored to gamer segment’s behavior could boost interest
      • Figure 34: esports viewing habits, by gamer segment, 2022
    • Long-term attachment may increase with support for high school leagues
      • Figure 35: esports viewing habits, by education level, 2022
  12. Motivations for Watching Esports

    • Viewers want to watch the games they play themselves
      • Figure 36: Motivations for watching esports, 2022
    • Learning new gaming tips and tricks retains interest across age groups
      • Figure 37: Motivations for watching esports, by age, 2022
    • Favorite players and teams are a powerful draw for esports viewers
      • Figure 38: Motivations for watching esports, by gamer segment, 2022
  13. Esports Discoverability

    • Paid campaigns should focus on top of funnel awareness of esports events
      • Figure 39: esports discoverability, 2022
    • Tap younger gamers as esports evangelists to older friends and family
      • Figure 40: esports discoverability, by age, 2022
    • Women may feel they hear enough about gaming through other channels
      • Figure 41: esports discoverability, by gender, 2022
  14. Esports Players and Games

    • Strengthening familial bonds through esports
      • Figure 42: Competitive and casual personal esports involvement, by gender and parental status, 2022
    • Rural gamers have hurdles to overcome before they can begin to compete
      • Figure 43: Competitive and casual personal esports involvement, by area, 2022
  15. Attitudes Toward Esports

    • Higher education improves positive associations with esports
      • Figure 44: esports sponsor and advertising recognition, by education, 2022
    • Esports players moonlighting as streamers is a fan supported path
      • Figure 45: Feelings about esports, by age, 2022
    • Fans want more, but might struggle with overwhelming options
      • Figure 46: esports viewership, by gamer segment, 2022
  16. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Consumer survey data
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


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Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


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