With an active base of over 35 million players, was there ever a doubt that Overwatch League would succeed? Well if there was, it’s unlikely there are many doubters left out there. Over ten million fans tuned in through various streaming services to watch the first week of Blizzard’s brand new self-founded eSport league.
Opening day saw an average of 408,000 viewers per minute, peaking at 437,000 during the Dallas Fuel vs Seoul Dynasty match. At the end of its first week Overwatch League had an average of 280,000 per minute. Viewers primary tuned in through Twitch and MLG (Major League Gaming).
“Since we announced Overwatch League at Blizzcon 2016, we’ve been eagerly awaiting the day when the global competitive Overwatch community could come together under one banner,” said Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer.
The Commissioner went on to say, “Opening week was that coming-out party–for the fans, both in-person at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles and tuned in by the millions all over the world, and for the players, whose love for the game came through crystal clear”
Tickets to Blizzard’s Los Angeles-based arena sold out throughout the full seven days. The arena is absolutely gorgeous and displays how seriously committed Blizzard is to see their new eSport league succeed. The 12 city based teams from around the globe all offer their players regular salaries and their characters sport custom uniforms in-game.
Twitch reportedly paid $90 million for the rights to stream Overwatch League matches. With that massive investment there’s more than one major company’s fortunes on the line. It’ll be interesting to see if Blizzard can maintain its strong numbers as the season progresses. If they do, we may just be seeing the birth of the future of eSports.
Overwatch League’s first season runs through June, with playoffs beginning in July. Week 2 is currently ongoing and you can view the full schedule here.