According to eSports and Streaming Gameplay, the latest report from global information provider, The NPD Group, 44 percent of current gamers have watched either formal eSports competitions or informal video streaming of gameplay in the past six months.

Online gamers should not be ignored. AudienceSCAN found 41% of U.S. adults have used the internet via browsers, tablets or smartphones to play online games in the past 30 days.

Those gamers are averaging close to three hours per watching session, with 18 percent watching some form of video game play on a daily basis, and another 46 percent watching weekly.

Similar to watching others play traditional sports such as football or basketball, many video game players are engaged in the experience of watching other gamers play, from their friends and other amateurs, to the top gamers in the world.

Bowling alleys can incorporate more tech to attract young bowlers. AudienceSCAN reported 22.6% of Online Game Players enjoy bowling! eSports competitions revolving around boxing could be a new opportunity for bars and theaters. Online Game Players are 27% more likely than average to watch boxing, and Online Gamers are 36% more likely than average to love watching mixed martial arts.

Even when focused on competitive eSports, it’s the game being played that consistently attracts viewers. Watchers are most influenced by the game, followed by the quality of the commentators and the team/players. Neither the size of the tournament nor the prize pool played a noticeable role in attracting viewers.

“eSports may have seemed like a niche phenomenon in the past, but it has clearly taken off with strong activity and engagement with consumers,” said Liam Callahan, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “This is positive for the gaming industry on multiple levels, not only bringing excitement from the events themselves, but also from a marketing standpoint as consumers learn and can then potentially spend on games featured at eSports events.”

20.8% of Online Game Players usually try to support companies that sponsor their favorite sports team or athlete, according to AudienceSCAN data.

Two-thirds of gamers are currently playing the game that they indicate watching the most, with a sizeable group of gamers who are playing games they discovered by watching. This parallels another strong motivator to watching others play: wanting to better understand a game that they know little about. Similarly 69 percent have purchased either a full game or downloadable content because they saw someone playing it online.

40% of Online Game Players looked for info on a hobby or interest via the web in the past month, according to AudienceSCAN research. Another 25.6% of Gamers got online to comment on a blog, message board or news story, so they could be passionate about spreading the word on upcoming eSports events.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.