There's been a lot of anticipation with the build-up of Blizzard's Overwatch League, with millions of dollars invested in its teams of players, as well as Twitch ponying up big bucks to be the exclusive broadcast partner for the event. But it all appears to be paying off, as the first week of competition from the League has paid off in huge dividends.
According to GamesIndustry International, the first week of Overwatch League match-ups have resulted in more than ten million people tuning in over the first week. That estimates to approximately 408,000 people per minute for opening day, with a concurrent peak of 437,000 watching the tournament at once. Not bad – and it's likely to grow as the first year of the League rolls on.
Recognized as "the world's first major global city-based professional esports league," the event kicked off with flying colors, with nearly a third of the 35 million Overwatch players around the world – and, thanks to positive feedback, that's likely to pick up as players and teams become more established, and match-ups become more anticipated.
Along with Twitch streaming the matches in the United States, the Overwatch League also benefitted through overseas partners, including Major League Gaming, ZhanQiTV, NetEase CC and Panda TV – making it just as big a hit in China as it his here.
There's a chance the audience numbers could be even bigger than expected, as Blizzard has noted that the viewership comes from browsers/devices tuned in to the event. Many community members may have been hosting parties and get-togethers where even more viewers tuned in.
As for which match got the most attention, it appears to be last week's Dallas Fuel vs. Seoul Dynasty match-up, which attracted said 437,000 concurrent viewers through Twitch and MLG. The games also saw some great attendance through people in the audience as well, as seats filled up quickly in the newly founded Blizzard Arena – and it's not slowing down anytime soon.
Major League Gaming president and CEO Pete Vlastelica noted that Overwatch's massive user base means the League "has the potential to become one of the most-watched leagues – of any kind – in the world."
We'll see how interest holds as the League kicks off its second week of matches very shortly.