The esports industry has seen hefty growth within the past few years and a familiar company now plans to help measure this development. Nielsen announced it will launch a dedicated esports section that will focus on providing statistics and research on the industry.

In a statement, Nielsen president Howard Appelbaum said the company’s new presence in the esports market will help leagues and companies make smarter decisions.

“There’s a high demand for reliable, independent measurement of value in esports,” Appelbaum said. “We’re excited to enhance our client offerings and provide the industry with solutions that will help guide and optimize investment decisions in this exciting, growing space.”

Along with its general analytics work, part of Nielsen’s esports focus will also be on sponsorships. Nielsen will provide sponsorship valuation tools that’ll allow advertisers in esports tournaments to see how effective their sponsorship deals are. According to Nielsen, the playoffs in major esports tournaments this year have produced $75,000 to $17 million in value for their sponsors.

Nielsen plans to release esports updates via its program throughout 2017 and a major paper that focuses on research for the international esports market will be released later this year. Nielsen, which is commonly known for its work and research in areas including TV ratings, will also work alongside industry partners including Sony, ESPN and Twitch.

In a statement, Kristen Salvatore, vice president of esports and event sponsorships at Twitch, said Nielsen’s history in the analytics space made it a logical partner for the gaming streaming service.

"Nielsen has done a stellar job establishing itself as a popular and respected source for data, making its foray into the esports industry an exciting endeavor," Salvatore said. "With Twitch being an online epicenter for the live viewing of esports content, Nielsen's research will tie directly to our community and makes our participation in the advisory board a natural fit."

Nielsen’s entrance into the esports market helps to underscore the growth it has seen within the past few years among fans and companies. Games like "Data 2" and "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" are popular titles among esports players and research firm NewZoo estimates that esports revenue will reach $1.5 billion by 2020.

The esports market has also seen similarly steady activity from investors who want to take advantage of this predicted upswing. Esports teams have seen steady investment from partners ranging from Nickelodeon to Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke and leagues like the NBA are even planning to launch their own sub-leagues solely for esports.

This growth for esports has also extended to universities and schools. Within the U.S., a handful of smaller schools have launched formal teams for esports competitions in games like "Overwatch" and earlier this year, the University of Utah announced plans to field an esports team and also offer partial scholarships. At the moment, the University of Utah is the first school from a major athletic conference to field a varsity esports team with scholarships — other schools from major conferences have launched teams, but they’ve traditionally been on a club basis.