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Overwatch League Grand Finals pulls in 120k concurrent views on YouTube

Viewership for playoffs peaks with average minute audience of 375k viewers.

12 October 2020 Ed Dixon
  • This year’s final held in Korea; started at 6am Pacific time
  • Meanwhile, NBA 2K League MD says broadcasts on Twitch “up nearly 70%” on last year
  • Elsewhere, LoL final to allow more than 6,000 fans at Shanghai’s Pudong Soccer Stadium

The champion-crowning match of the 2020 Overwatch League (OWL) Grand Finals drew 120,000 concurrent viewers on the esports competition’s live stream on YouTube.

The figure, reported by The Washington Post, was achieved despite the time difference for North American audiences. The match started at 6am Pacific time as viewers tuned in to watch San Francisco Shock defeat Seoul Dynasty 4-2 to win their second OWL championship.

This year’s tournament was held in Korea, with players based out of a team facility and competing online, rather than in a packed arena.

Prior to the Grand Finals on 10th October, the OWL said viewership peaked during the playoffs stage with an average minute audience of 375,000 viewers.

The figures will offer relief to OWL organisers, who had seen viewing numbers slip following their switch from Amazon streaming platform Twitch to YouTube.

Elsewhere in esports, the managing director of the NBA 2K League, Brendan Donohue, has revealed the competition has seen a major increase in viewership on Twitch compared to last year.

Donohue made the announcement as the NBA 2K League unveiled a new tryout process for its 2021 season, which will see players compete in more than 35 Pro-Am tournaments as part of the NBA 2K League Draft Prospect Series, with the winners then advancing to the NBA 2K League Combine.

“Just looking apples to apples, just our broadcasts on Twitch is up nearly 70% year over year,” Donohue told Forbes, “and then on top of that we added numerous distributors around the world, including ESPN 2.”

In May, ESPN marked the opening round of the NBA 2K League 2020 season with the first-ever linear broadcast of the esports competition’s games in the US.

Shown on ESPN2, the network also agreed a deal to air matches on Tuesdays through 19th May. In addition, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday games were shown on the ESPN app and ESPN.com throughout the season.

In total, ESPN2 aired 29 nights of broadcasts over the season. In addition, every NBA 2K League match on ESPN’s platforms was shown live in Latin America, Oceania, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean.

Combining Twitch viewers with the unique viewership on ESPN2, the NBA 2K League reached at least one million unique viewers each time it was shown on ESPN2, according to Forbes, which added that this year’s finals saw 1.1 million unique viewers on Twitch alone.

Meanwhile, the 2020 League of Legends (LoL) World Championship grand final in China will allow a limited live audience for the tournament’s climax on 31st October.

The decision was announced by esports operator TJ Sports, with 6,312 people to attend the event at Shanghai’s Pudong Soccer Stadium. The venue has a maximum capacity of 33,765.

Tickets will be free and randomly distributed to those who register online. There will be a set distance between each set in order to comply with Shanghai’s mandated Covid-19 social distancing restrictions.

Seoul Dynasty 

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