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Twitch Audience Crossover in Sports Sim Titles

It’s no secret that traditional sports leagues are looking to video games to help reach the next generation of fans. In addition to making more content available online and working with influencers to promote these events, organizations like FIFA, the NFL, and the NBA have all used their direct video game counterparts as a primary tool to engage with younger fans. In particular, each of these leagues have set up their own competitive circuits.

Analysis: Twitch Audience Crossover Data

Using data from their recent acquisition of Waypoint Media, FanAI have examined the crossover between the audiences for an event from each of these sports sim leagues. Namely, they compared the unique logged-in viewers of EA’s November FUT 19 Champions Cup, Madden’s 2019 Club Championship Finals, and the NBA 2K League’s playoffs in August 2018.

Given previous findings, it’s somewhat unsurprising to see that the viewers for each of these events saw little crossover. This is in spite of the fact that they were all looking to appeal to supposedly a similar audience of gamers who are also fans of the corresponding traditional sport. In reality, less than 1% of the 577K total users analyzed watched at least 2 of the 3 events.

This trend becomes more apparent when considering just the NBA 2K League playoffs. Out of the events examined, it had the fewest unique logged-in viewers tune in and the greatest proportion of fans who viewed other events. Even in this best case scenario for this kind of comparison, only about 7% of the 39.2K unique logged-in viewers or ~2.9K of the NBA 2K League finals watched the other sports sim esports.

Why does this matter?

This data adds further evidence that fans are loyal to games, not genres. This means that publishers cannot necessarily look to fans of titles in the same genre as a reliable growth opportunity. Rather they should focus on cultivating their own communities.

Likewise, advertisers should not assume that fans one game are lookalikes to fans of a similar game. A strategy that worked for one community, might not translate to the other. As a result, brands that understand the nuances between esports audiences will likely appeal to fans the most.