Teens find e-sports as riveting as pro sports, UMass Lowell poll finds

March 10, 2018

It turns out e-sports — where online gamers compete before an audience via video streaming platforms such as Amazon.com-owned Twitch or YouTube — is just as popular for young people as watching professional sports.

That's according to a new poll from UMass Lowell and The Washington Post on Friday, which found that for those age 14 to 21, e-sports are about as popular as football. Forty percent of that age group said they are football fans — while 38 percent count themselves among fans of e-sports.

“The popularity of e-sports and online gaming among American teens and young adults as both a recreational activity that you participate in or can also watch reveals a shifting landscape for what constitutes a sport in American life. It is absolutely telling that the fan base for e-sports is just as large as the fan base for professional football among Americans ages 14 to 21,” said Joshua Dyck, co-director of the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion, in a statement. “The reasons teens and young adults give for participating in e-sports/online gaming mirror many of those given in our survey of adults 18 and older about why they watch live sports.”

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