More than 800 million hours of esports content was watched on the streaming platform Twitch in the past 10 months, according to research from the market intelligence company Newzoo. Of that amount, 231 million hours was rebroadcast content. Just over 71 percent of that content comes from tournament organizers, with League of Legends developer Riot Games and third-party organizer ESL accounting for a majority of that number.
During that 10-month span, esports accounted for between 14 percent and 31 percent of the total hours watched on Twitch. The high point came in October 2015, when Riot Games League of Legends World Championship, a monthlong spectacle that brings together the best League of Legends teams from around the world to compete each year, and Dota 2 events ESL One New York and MLG World Finals accounted for 31 percent of the total hours of Twitch consumed.
Esports' second-biggest month was August, which included the League of Legends Championship Series summer finals for each major region across the world, The International 5 (the biggest Dota 2 tournament to date), and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's ESL One Cologne, which occurred the same week and weekend as the North American and European LCS finals. Viewers watched over 110 million hours of esports in August alone.
Much the way sports broadcasting gained ground in the 1980s and '90s, esports has been experiencing substantial spectator and broadcasting growth in the last year. League of Legends has grown significantly, as many expected, while Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has three competitive leagues on Twitch, one of which, ELEAGUE, features its finals broadcast on national TV channel TBS every Friday night.
The future looks bright for both esports spectating and Twitch. The company, which was bought by Amazon for $970 million in Aug. 2014, was the fourth-largest website in the United States in 2014, as judged by peak internet traffic. Its size has likely increased since then as more and more people swarm to the platform for their fix of esports, casual video gaming, or marathons of TV shows such as "Pokémon" and Bob Ross' "The Joy of Painting."