Blizzard beats NFL live stream stats with Overwatch League live coverage

Blizzard Entertainment is the publisher of games such as World Of Warcraft, Starcraft and Overwatch. They have reported that the recently launched Overwatch League (OWL) has reached 10 million unique viewers.
This viewership is across all platforms and includes an average of 280,000 viewers per minute on Twitch and MLG during its opening week.
By comparison, Amazon’s first livestream of Thursday Night Football (NFL) saw 372,000 viewers per 30 seconds in September and Twitter’s inaugural Thursday Night Football event in 2016, which boasted an average of 243,000 viewers per minute.

A breakdown of the Overwatch League’s numbers

The most significant web traffic during the OWL was The league’s opening day on Jan. 10. The peak concurrent viewer count was 437,000 with an average of 408,000 viewers per minute on Twitch and MLG.
The league was broadcasted in four different languages, English, Chinese, Korean and French, on six different platforms. These platforms include:

  • Twitch
  • MLG
  • ZhanQi TV
  • NetEase CC
  • Panda TV
  • And its own Overwatch League website

Historically, China is the largest consumer of esports broadcasts in other games such as League of Legends, Dota 2 and others, but Blizzard did not disclose a breakdown of individual regions.

We’re thrilled by the overwhelming response to the Overwatch League’s opening week of play,
But this is only the beginning. With more than 35 million Overwatch players, the Overwatch League has the potential to become one of the most-watched leagues-of any kind-in the world.
-MLG CEO and president Pete Vlastelica, a former executive vice president of Fox Sports

Blizzard signs a major deal with Twitch

Blizzard signed a reported two-year, $90 million deal with Twitch last week. The deal saw the world’s largest livestreaming platform gain exclusive rights to all games in English, Korean and French.

The impact of Overwatch League viewership and Twitch

Clearly, the OWL is helping prove that esports together with Twitch command a strong audience. For anyone in traditional media, it signals a continuing movement away from TV towards online streaming. Not to mention, gaming video content (GVC) more generally has a global audience of 665 million viewers.
As for advertisers and brands, you’ll need to watch this space closely — all the opportunities for brand awareness and exposure may be sitting with live streaming platforms like Twitch.
To keep up to date with regular coverage of the Overwatch League (OWL), follow on Twitter and Facebook.