London Spitfire did indeed have a rather simple run against Philadelphia Fusion, sweeping the hopefuls from Fusion into a decisive victory and establishing the team at the top of the food chain in Overwatch at the OW League grand finals. Held at Brooklyn, New York on the weekend of July 28-29, the event drew crowds by the hundred-fold, but another trend also emerged – the total viewership globally also made an impression.
The Fans Hungry for Action
The global numbers of spectators soared to 861,205 globally. It was a raging success. Blizzard had only released one year prior and had been experimenting with its league model for fewer than 12 months. The upshot – immensely satisfying. A successful league model that will likely branch out to other franchises, including Call of Duty.
As if the most recent achievement is not enough, but the company is also pushing through with expansion rights across the world. China and France will both have cities hosting Overwatch League events in Season 2 of the competition.
How is such success possible? It took Dota 2 and League of Legends roughly the same time to draw similar crowds, but they had the privilege to outpace the player base of Overwatch significantly.
And yet, here we are – our plasma guns all primed and ready to go. In fact, much of the success Blizzard achieved over the weekend was made possible, courtesy of Twitch.tv, MLG, the ESPN eSports channels, Panda TV, and individual Chinese streams, including ZhanQi TV – arguably the most popular streamer of eSports in China at the moment.
It’s All About the Demographics
Demographics are important. They play an important role in any company’s future investment. Should Blizzard be phasing out of the market? Not in the slightest. With the bulk of players aged between 18 and 34, Overwatch is here to stay and continue to expand and develop.
How did Nielsen, the famed eSports research firm arrive at these numbers, though? It’s not all that complicated if you love the formulas the chaps at Nielsen use, albeit it can get tricky. Put plainly, Nielsen make sure to take the number of households watching a channel.
And speaking of demographics, it’s well worth noting that the number of youngsters between 12 and 17 watching Overwatch on TV has increased, as per ESPN information. This reminds of the 90s when computer shows were particularly popular at the time when mainstream PCs were beginning to enter our homes.
Ratings – Esports or TV?
Even though ESPN cannot boast great numbers on its TV channels for eSports, the numbers are still pretty decent for the segment. One of the main drawbacks for televising eSports on regular cable TV lies in the plain fact that the majority of gamers will always opt for the likes of YouTube Gaming and Twitch, with only a fraction deciding to watch on their flat screens.
Whether it’s possible to add to the number of viewers on TV is anyone’s guess. However, the number of eSports viewers is poised to explode by 2022.