Twitch peaks at over 415,000 viewers for Overwatch League debut
Twitch, the live-streaming video portal owned by Amazon, attracted a peak audience of more than 415,000 for its opening day coverage of Overwatch League, the new franchise-based eSports competition organised by video game publisher Blizzard Entertainment.
In a post on social media site Twitter, Ben Goldhaber, Twitch’s director of content and marketing, said that the portal’s audience for the first day of competition had “peaked at over 415k viewers."
Day one of the Overwatch League on Wednesday featured five matches.
The audience figures are some way short of the Twitch record set in January last year when ELeague, the eSports competition backed by Endeavor (formerly WME-IMG) and Turner, the US media giant, attracted a peak viewership of over 1 million for a live-stream of a Counter Strike: Global Offensive match.
Twitch is reported to have paid $90 million for the exclusive third-party global streaming rights to the Overwatch League in all regions apart from China.
The two-year deal includes broadcast rights in English, French and Korean.
Overwatch League’s pre-season games were streamed on Major League Gaming TV, the eSports platform owned by Overwatch’s parent publisher Activision Blizzard.
In China, streaming platforms ZhanQi TV, NetEase CC, and Panda TV will all show coverage of the league.
There are two Asia-based teams in the competition in Korea's Seoul Dynasty and China's Shanghai Dragons.
The Korean-language rights will drive significant value for Twitch as the country has around 4.5 million eSports enthusiasts, according to industry researcher Newzoo.
Newzoo estimates that by the end of this year, eSports revenues in Korea will total Won4.3 billion ($40.4 million).
Last year, the company estimated that media rights would account for 14 per cent of global eSports revenues by the end of 2017.
The cost of acquiring a franchise in Blizzard’s new 12-team league was understood to be a minimum of $20 million, with no immediate financial return guaranteed, as a revenue-sharing model is not expected to be in place until 2021.
By comparison, Riot Games’ North American League of Legends competition charges around $10 million per franchise.
• Around 10 per cent of Dutch consumers watch video game streams on a regular basis, according to a study by Multiscope, the Netherlands-based media research company.
The report also found that 23 per cent of 18-to-35-year-olds stream video game content.
Riot Games’ League of Legends, EA Sports’ Fifa and Blizzard’s Hearthstone rank as the most popular video games among streamers in the country.