Has it been one of the most profitable investment from Twitch in the recent years?

The Overwatch League (OWL) was launched in Los Angeles on January 10th. Through a great show, inspired by the American flare, Twitch recorded a strong audience for the first episode of this new league. Actually, more than 400,000 unique viewers attended the event online. The lowest score was capped at 275,000 viewers, which is quite remarkable. To be noted: these figures do not include the viewers on mobile and in China. As a reminder, Call of Duty World League only reached at best 192,000 viewers.
Finally, Twitch’s $90-milllion investment to get the exclusive right to broadcast the OWL may become profitable in the long run if these results keep alive. This event will be relevant only if it creates a strong hype and it will require a lot of communication and financial means to sustain the trend. In the previous examples through time, we noticed a launch is often branded with a strong peak and then the average amount of viewers gets stable. For example, when SKT T1, one of the most rewarded League of Legends team in the world, tried their first streaming event, they recorded 220,000 viewers but today, their Korean player Faker records a maximum of 40,000 viewers a day. This might lead mechanically to a slump after the excitement of the Overwatch League.
Another great winner of the event is Blizzard, Overwatch’s publisher. This new FPS is breaching records and an active esport community is being built around the game. Moreover, every team who wants to compete has to cash out their slot for $20 million, which is a considerable amount compared to League of Legends competition, the LCS where a slot costs $1 million. It’s finally a great move for Blizzard and the broadcast platform and we hope they will maintain such a hype in the next few months.

And by the way, what’s the Overwatch League?

The Overwatch League is a closed championship where 12 teams are contending. It works similarly to the NBA with a playoff system. All the teams are split between two divisions, the Atlantic one and the Pacific division but all the contenders play in Los Angeles:
– Pacific Division: Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Gladiators, Los Angeles Valiant, San Francisco Shock, Seoul Dynasty, Shanghai Dragons;
– Atlantic Division: Boston Uprising, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, New York Excelsior, Philadelphia Fusion.
As every team paid for their slot, they can’t be relegated to a lower division called “The Contenders”.
This season will be divided into 4 phases of 5 weeks each. Every week, the official matches will happen on Wednesday and Saturday in the Blizzard Arena:
– Phase 1: from January 10th to February 10th
– Phase 2: from February 21st to March 24th
– Phase 3: from April 4th to May 5th
– Phase 4: from May 16th to June 16th
At the end of the season, every team will have played 40 matches. An after-season will take place in July with the best teams of each division to battle during the playoffs to become the World Champions.
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