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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

One of the world's biggest esports leagues is working with Nielsen to develop the first-ever comprehensive measurement system for viewership of esports broadcasts.

Why it matters: Esports audiences are growing so big that they are beginning to outpace traditional sports viewers globally. Without a way to adequately measure those audiences and compare them to TV audiences, it's harder for brands and leagues to monetize those eyeballs.

Details: The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), which is run by American video game developer Riot Games, is working with Nielsen to develop the first-ever official measurement system for esports broadcasts that truly mimics what's used to measure TV.

  • The new ratings system, called live+, encompasses both live broadcast viewership and post-event on-demand or replay video.
  • Unlike traditional sports, esports tournaments are often watched both live and after-the-fact, since audiences are global and span different timezones. Aspiring players also like to rewatch games to learn from other gamers' techniques.
  • The ratings leverage the new industry standard for viewership reporting known as average minute audience (AMA). The esports industry began late last year to adopt AMA, a unit akin to how television audiences are measured.
  • This metric will parallel Nielsen’s live+ TV ratings, which aggregate live and on-demand viewership within a designated time window to present a more complete picture of TV viewership engagement.

Be smart: TV-like ratings used to measure esports are considered more accurate than other forms of viewership metrics that many in the esports industry had previously been using, like peak concurrent viewers or peak channels.

  • "In some ways, this [new system] is not revolutionary at all because it's done the same way as TV," says Nicole Pike, managing director of Nielsen esports.
  • "But for esports, it's a big change because for the first time, it offers consistency between events, leagues, etc., and it provides an accurate summary of viewership," she added.

The big picture: The new metrics system will give leagues and advertisers a better way to compare esports viewership with that of traditional television and sports broadcasts.

  • To date, most esports-related revenue has been driven by corporate sponsorships — with ticket sales, merchandise and media rights bringing in additional revenue. Viewership-based advertising has been difficult to implement without ratings.
  • "Advertisers need to be able to compare all options against each other," says Pike.

What's next: Other major esports leagues are in touch with Nielsen about adopting the standard.

  • Nielsen has partnered with Activision Blizzard and ESL over the past year to implement the AMA standard industry-wide. It expects other esports leagues to adopt live+ as well.


Go deeper

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Over 170 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem

An injured man is carried away as Israeli security forces clash with Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

At least 178 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem, Reuters reported late Friday.

The big picture: The clashes come amid growing anger over the threatened eviction of Palestinians from their homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. Tensions have also escalated in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low — Majority back vaccine proof requirements for travel, schools and work — The race to avoid a possible "monster" COVID variant.
  2. Politics: Oklahoma secures $2.6 million refund for hydroxychloroquine purchase — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations — Americans' return to the skies could benefit smaller airlines.
  5. World: WHO authorizes China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use — Mixed response in Europe to Biden's vaccine patents bombshell.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Ohio GOP censures Rep. Anthony Gonzalez over Trump impeachment vote

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Ohio Republican Party on Friday censured Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) and called for him to resign for voting to impeach former President Trump in January, Reuters reports.

The big picture: Gonzalez is the latest Republican lawmaker to be punished for voting to impeach the former president on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection.