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Volume 26 No. 175
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Esports Still Tough To Compare To Traditional Sports For Ad Buyers

It is "widely accepted that the esports industry is on the rise, but understanding how that popularity compares to other forms of sports entertainment has been tricky for ad buyers," according to Seb Joseph of DIGIDAY. Metrics like unique views and total minutes watched have "created impressive narratives for the growth of esports, but often they don't tell the whole story." Esports viewership is reported by "either the tournament organizers, game developers, teams or streaming platforms themselves." Sources said that while those reported numbers "aren't inaccurate," how they have been used "has been misguided." Activision Blizzard Strategy & Analytics Lead Kasra Jafroodi said, "Some companies in esports have tended to report vanity viewership metrics that tend to be larger like views and hours watched. Unfortunately, metrics like these tend to lead to incorrect comparisons." A source said, "If you look at something like views, which is often used to claim big viewership numbers by esports businesses, that metric can easily be inflated by people who are on sites where an embedded video player plays automatically." Ad deals are "often brokered off the back of those sorts of metrics." More mainstream advertisers have "kept their distance due to how unreliable viewership numbers have been." Several esports players are all now "using Nielsen as a reporting partner." Many of them are "adopting the average-minute audience metric." Nielsen "wants to establish its AMA metric as the equivalent to its audience ratings on TV" (DIGIDAY.com, 10/2).

For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.