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eSports in the Netherlands, beyond the hype

2 minute read | May 2017

The hype surrounding eSports has been increasing in the last year. Not unjustly, according to the report ‘eSports in the Netherlands 2017’ by Nielsen Sports. 4 out of 10 Dutch millennials have watched eSports, attended an eSports event or followed news about eSports in the past year. Nearly half of this group started following eSports in the past year.

Gaming as a popular pastime

The Dutch millennial spends an average of almost 5 hours a week on gaming. The Dutch eSports fans themselves also appear to be fanatical gamers, because they play an average of 10 hours a week, or 20 percent of their free time. The most popular game to play and follow is FIFA 17. However, the football game is mainly popular with the more recent eSports fans, because the early adopters play and follow League of Legends or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive more often.

The millennial is not glued to his screen

Yet millennials don’t just sit behind the screen. 86 percent of this group say they exercise. The cliché of the computer addicted gamer is also dealt with in this report, because no less than 89 percent of eSports fans also play sports themselves. Football is the favorite sport of the eSport fan, both to practice and to follow. eSports fans distinguish themselves from their peers by following traditional sports, often via online live streams or on-demand.

According to Sebastiaan Westerhout, managing director of Nielsen Sports Netherlands, eSports is now over the hype: ‘eSports appears to be an ideal platform for brands to reach millennials. Authenticity is crucial here. With a flat pop-up advertisement you mainly arouse annoyance, it also makes little sense, because almost half of the millennials say they use an ad-blocker in our survey.’

“The fit between a brand and eSports must therefore be credible,” says Westerhout. “A company like Ziggo sets a good example in that regard by fully embracing the Ajax eSports team. They organized an E-Battle in a full Amsterdam ArenA, among other things, and put Ajax eSporter Dani Hagebeuk on a pedestal as the first champion of the E-Division.’


The E-Division was founded earlier this year, with eSporters from the 18 Eredivisie clubs playing their own competition with the game FIFA 17. Within a few months, the E-Division created a reputation of 42 percent among (post) millennials. Among eSports fans, even a wider majority knows about the existence of the E-Division. Logically, this fame did not arise through the traditional print and online media, but mainly through YouTube, the gaming platform Twitch and the social media channels of Eredivisie clubs. Yet television remains an important platform for reaching millennials.

Report ‘eSports in the Netherlands 2017’

For the report ‘eSports in the Netherlands 2017’, 500 (post) millennials (14-35 years) and 500 eSports fans (14-35 years) were surveyed.

A light version of the report ‘eSports in the Netherlands 2017’ can be downloaded for free by filling in the form on the right. The full report is available for € 375. If you are interested, please contact Sebastiaan Westerhout: sebastiaan.westerhout@nielsen.com.


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