A small but dynamic market ready for development
The esports environment in the Czech Republic is unique with its solid foundations laid by the leaders in their respective sectors (events, teams, investors, etc.), but it is still expecting a major boom that would bring competition to these major players, in turn supporting the development of the environment and bringing in much-needed capital. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought a sharp increase in the consumption of esports content, has been a major driver of development and audience growth in recent years.
What is unique for the esports sector compared to other entertainment sectors – in the Czech Republic as well as in other European countries – is the young consumer demogrphic, with 28% of esports consumers being Generation Z. This provides an exceptional opportunity for growth, as Generation Z gradually matures. The overall awareness of esports among the Czechs age 16 to 65 currently stands at 34% and is expected to increase.
Big players taking position on the market
The major market participants include the Czech Republic’s Championship in the computer games “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” (CS:GO) and “PUBG”, with Vodafone as the main partner, which had a prize pool of more than EUR 12 thousand and a combined view count on Twitch, Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming exceeding 1 million. The largest year-round competitions comprise Sazka eLeague presenting the “CS:GO” and “Dota 2” games (a prize pool of EUR 50 thousand) and Tipsport COOL Liga presenting the “CS:GO” and “FIFA” games (a prize pool of EUR 27 thousand), with a view count exceeding 1.5 million.
Sports games are mainly covered by the “FIFA” leagues of Datart E:Liga, which brings together representatives of Czech professional football clubs under the patronage of the Czech Football League Association (LFA) and is engaged in the Electronic Arts Global Series. Professional Czech hockey clubs also have the opportunity to compete in the Enyaq Hockey League presenting the NHL games from EA, which gained a major sponsor this year: Škoda Auto. The competition is organised by BPA, which is also responsible for the Czech Extraliga, the highest-level ice hockey league in the country.
Consumers with plenty of firepower
The popularity of esports among Czech fans is growing. In addition, it is becoming a new marketing opportunity and is attracting increasingly more investors not only from the esports environment, but also from more established industries, such as automotive, as well.
The “typical” esports consumer in the Czech Republic is male (60%) and young (73% of the esport audience are younger than 40). The most frequently used channel for esports consumption is YouTube Gaming (47% of esports consumers have watched content here), whereas the most time for esports consumption is spent on Twitch. The most frequently used device for consumption is the mobile phone (62% of consumers used their phones for consumption). It is not the favourite device for intensive consumption, however, as the average users spents more time watching on their desktop PC, laptop or TV. In terms of individual game categories, the genres with the highest reach in the Czech Republic are Shooters (55% of esports consumers have watched Shooter content at least once) and Sports simulations (45%).
The share of esports audience who are a paying members of at least one esports subscription slightly exceeds 10%. The data shows that the esports audience is a very interesting target from a monetisation perspective. Three-in-four esports consumers from the 16 to 65 year-old population are in a job (76%). Furthermore, esports consumers in the Czech Republic dispose of an average net income of EUR 978*, which is higher than the average net income of respondents who have never watched esports (EUR 897*), indicating an above-average income. In terms of demographics, women are underrepresented in the Czech audience (39%) which, however, is slightly above the average across European countries (38%).
* Data Source for exchange rates: Eurostat exchange rates as at 30 June 2021
COVID-19 triggers numerous developments
Esports viewership numbers already increased before the COVID-19 pandemic, after the outbreak of which growth was further accelerated in this area. The esports audience therefore comprises a lot of “newcomers”, as 41% of esports consumers stated to have watched esports content for the first time in this period. The pandemic also brought-in a whole new category of viewers, who found their way to esports in a time when alternative content was rare due to restrictions that were applied to traditional sport and other live events.
In addition to the large number o newcomers, 67% of established users increased their time spent watching esports in the period following the pandemic’s outbreak. Consequently, esports could sharply increase its reach in awareness in the “home entertainment times”.
Looking ahead, esports’ challenge is to lock these new audiences in and enthuse them for the long term to eventually turn them into paying customers. The willingness of people to invest in paid content is naturally related to its quality and additional services, which the user receives as part of the paid service. In other words, paid content needs to be of high quality, and if such services are to be successful, they must be able to offer something extra: whether it be extra statistics or data about individual teams, players and events, communication platforms, premium events concerning services or hardware. Of course, all of this offers much room for partner involvement.
The European esports market
The 6th edition of the Deloitte study 'Let's Play! - The European esports market' focuses on the economically sustainable development of the European esports sector. The study was based on extensive consumer research and numerous expert opinions. In addition, there are 13 country profiles that outline the current state of the esports sector in different European markets.
To download the full report, click here. For the individual country profiles, navigate via the map of Europe.