The Italian esports market: Let’s Play! 2021

The Italian share of regular esports users is among the highest in Europe

The Italian esports sector represents one of the most important esports markets in Europe, with a penetration rate that reaches about one in two Italian consumers (48%) between age 16 and 65. Moreover, the Italian esports audience includes one of the highest shares of regular users in a European comparison (just after Spain and Poland), with 27% of consumers enjoying esports content at least once a week.

Sponsorships and fairs promote esports in Italy

The Italian esports ecosystem comprises, among others, media and events agencies with a focus on esports as well as companies that are sponsors of esports events, games or teams. Among the latter, there are organisations from the sports (mainly football teams), ICT and consumer goods sector. Esports sponsorships allow companies to reach a young and digitally-native target group and make their brands more appealing for new audiences.

Furthermore, there are various relevant fairs and exhibitions held on Italian ground which are dedicated to video games, comics and esports, with hundreds of thousands of tickets sold in pre-COVID times. Moreover, several international game publishing companies have a local office in Italy.

The Italian esports audience is young, highly educated and digitally-native

The Italian esports audience represents an interesting target group for companies, not only because of its profile, but also due to its purchasing power. In particular, the esports audience mainly comprises young people (63% are younger than 40) and is on average highly educated as well as more likely to do shopping online than on traditional channels (60%). In addition, the majority of the audience can be considered open to advertising, as 58% state to prefer products advertised on the channels which are most familiar to them.

One in five esports viewers underline their loyalty towards at least one esports team through a paying team membership (e.g. club membership, subscriptions, access to team premium content etc.), with the same share of esports consumers being a non-paying member of at least one esports team (e.g. newsletter, free app, social media follower).

Esports audience evolves during COVID-19

COVID-19 and the consequently increased time spent at home had a significant impact on the time consumers spent on entertainment activities. In this period, the esports sector attracted many newcomers, as 54% of the Italian esports audience watched esports content for the first time after the implementation of COVID-19-related lockdowns in 2020.

In particular, the most important effect for the Italian market was registered among female consumers, for which the penetration rate increased more than 2.5 times (compared to little under two times for male consumers). This shows that esports audiences are evolving and that esports is expanding its reach from a small niche to a more popular entertainment medium.

Let’s Play! - The European esports Report

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.

The European esports market: Let’s Play! 2021

Deloitte offering and country contacts

Deloitte Italy supports clients in the entertainment, sport and esports sectors designing their strategies in the area of innovation, corporate and marketing growth, customers’ satisfaction and digital business models. We help organizations to optimize and differentiate their business model, focusing on value, growth and profitability optimization. Our aim is to provide to our clients solutions to sustain customer base and offering model evolution (e.g. segmentation model, customer journey etc.) and to design digitally-enabled business model and digitalization strategies. Furthermore, we advise them in anticipating, seizing and implementing new business opportunities, through the definition of the correct innovation strategy.

In particular, we support sport clubs and associations to face the challenges and transformations arising from the COVID-19 pandemic: We partner with our clients in designing more sustainable business models, putting the stadium at the centre as a core asset to boost revenues. We define the stadium formats, the services to be offered, the social, environmental, financial and economic return as well. Moreover, we create POCs of the stadium depending on the target business model, providing technical and economic feasibility evaluation.

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