DreamHack and FanAI: Using Data to Better Understand esports Fans

There is no doubt that esports are here to stay, and worth paying attention to. The question is, who are these esports fans, and what type of insights can be gained by understanding their spending habits?

In an effort to answer those questions about its North American festival attendees, DreamHack teamed up with FanAI to see what insights could be uncovered.

FanAI is a data analytics platform that uses real spending data, collected through exclusive access to nationwide payment streams, paired with first party audience data that reflects the actual spending behavior of fans; providing a stronger and more actionable kind of data than what can be obtained with statistics and surveys alone.

In addition to these quantitative metrics, FanAI works with a digital anthropologist to collect rich qualitative and ethnographic insights into audiences’ attitudes and behaviors, using rigorous in depth methods to bolster quantitative insight with lived experience data.


Fan Segments overindex in Various Categories Methodology

Using ticketing data provided by DreamHack from their 2017 festivals and combining it with spending data, social data, interviews, and observational data collected in-person at DreamHack North America events, FanAI set out to see what insights could be gained.

The result was a comprehensive look into ticket buyers’ spending behavior. The data demonstrates two key ideas. The first is that DreamHack attendees are more likely to spend above the national average in a number of areas. The second is that DreamHack North America event attendees have a higher discretionary spend than the national average.

DreamHack Attendees Spending Behaviors

Drilling down to each of the categories above provides insight into the travel behaviors of these fans. Not only are they going to DreamHack events, but a large portion of them spend more on travel both domestically and internationally than the national average.

What does this mean for DreamHack?

For starters it identifies that those who go to their events are highly likely to travel to attend. With this information, DreamHack can engage its fans across multiple events around the country, making events a priority in the travel plans of attendees by offering unique experiences tied not only to the DreamHack brand, but to the locations where the events take place. Furthermore the data shows that, upon arriving to their destination of travel, DreamHack attendees actually care about where they are staying, as indicated by their spending higher than average on upscale and luxury hotels.

Another set of categories made visible in these charts relates to automotive behaviors. DreamHack has built its reputation over the years as an event with a strong LAN component, including the bring your own  computer area where attendees can show off their custom built gaming rigs(the gaming equivalent of a car show).

It is no surprise that many of these attendees are tinkerers in general as DreamHack ticket buyers also spend more than the national average on automotive parts and accessories. Not only that, but they spend more on car travel as well, meaning they index higher on spending behaviors such as buying gas.

In interviews, attendees even reported road tripping to DreamHack with their friends. Thus when it comes to buying a car, reliability and gas mileage may be a big priority and when it comes to maintenance.DreamHack fans know their cars almost as well as they know their computers.

Finally, DreamHack fans spend more than the national average on both online subscription services and online shopping. While this may seem like obvious information, this arms DreamHack with the knowledge of ways to best reach their fans based on the kinds of platforms they consume media on and their shopping preferences.

What does it mean?

The data set as a whole empowers DreamHack with the knowledge needed to approach potential non endemic sponsors with the best strategies for how brands can engage with their fans and reach them through DreamHack events.

For many non endemic sponsors, esports investments are held to a higher standard. The budgets for sponsorship are smaller on a brand by brand basis and the esports world is still unproven territory inhabited largely by millennials who have a reputation for behaving counter to traditional market wisdom.

FanAI helps make audience behavior more visible and contextualizes how fans exist as more than just esports enthusiasts, but as consumers. Armed with quantitative and qualitative insights from FanAI DreamHack can approach sponsors for their events with details about who their fans are, how they engage with sponsors, and the kinds of sponsors their fans will find most appealing.

This unique and contextual approach to data, with an insistence on rigorous methods, lets FanAI provide insights backed with confidence and experience that will ultimately help brands understand the true value of entering the esports space.

Wealthy Tinkerers