Yesterday’s debut of the Overwatch League professional esports competitions for Blizzard Entertainment’s popular team shooter drew a very respectable crowd, and they were back for the show tonight.
On Twitch’s main broadcast stream alone, not counting separate casts on French and Korean channels, the feed hovered in the 270,000-300,000 area for most of the night, spiking to more than 350,000 during prime time as the Dallas Fuel battled the Seoul Dynasty. Twitch bought two-year exclusive broadcast rights to the Overwatch League in a deal worth at least $90 million, according to the Sports Business Journal.
“It’s most comparable to the playoff rounds of some more established games, like League of Legends or [Counter-Strike: Global Offensive], which is very impressive for a debut league,” said Chase, Twitch director of public relations, who doesn’t use a last name.
The current record for concurrent viewers on Twitch is held by ELEAGUE’s Jan. 29 CS: GO Major Grand Final match. It had more than 1 million concurrent viewers on a single channel.
Chat was scrolling too quickly to read in last night’s broadcast, which featured three four-match competitions. The two Los Angeles teams easily overcame their competition, with the Valiant destroying the San Francisco Shock and the Gladiators surprisingly dominant against the Shanghai Dragons, both in 4-0 straight victories. The last contest of the night was breathtaking, with the two former APEX championship teams (which later became the Fuel and the Dynasty) battling it out ferociously.
Dallas, composed primarily of players from Team Envy, took the Junkertown map as expected, then wilted under some amazing gameplay from Seoul on the Anubis and Ilios maps. (If you want to up your support-character game, you MUST watch those matches; truly some of the best Zenyatta work I’ve seen in a long time, and there’s a Mercy kill in there with pistols that is just insane at this level of play.) Most players on the Seoul team hail from team Lunatic-Hai. Dallas rallied to force a tie on the Numbani map, but Seoul carried the set with the two wins.
In tonight’s matches, Cloud9’s London Spitfire easily overcame the Florida Mayhem as expected, giving chief executive Jack Etienne the bragging rights he was seeking over his buddies (despite losing one contest on the Dorado map), and the Philadelphia Fusion is currently taking on the Houston Outlaws, with about 250,000 people watching. Later tonight in the feature match, the Boston Uprising will take on the New York Excelsior. Click here for the full schedule.
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