You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Overwatch League’s Grand Finals Grows 16% in Average Viewers From Last Year

UPDATED: Activision Blizzard released the viewership numbers on Overwatch League’s season capstone event, the 2019 Grand Finals, on Thursday, showing an increase on its inaugural season.

The league uses average minute audience (AMA) in its measurements, which counts viewers by how many minutes they watch the broadcast. Using this AMA metric, the Overwatch Grand Finals drew 1.12 million average viewers, up 16% from last year. This counts viewers on digital platforms such as Twitch, as well as the ABC broadcast, and the data counts live and first 24 hours rebroadcast viewing.

Additionally, U.S. AMA viewership came in at 472k, representing a 41% uptick from last year, and the 18-34 demographic in the U.S. was 182k, a 13% year-over-year increase.

The season altogether was up 11% in viewership for the 18-34 demographic, and during a conference call with journalists on Thursday, Activision Blizzard chief marketing officer Daniel Cherry touted the fact that OWL was the only major sports league to show a rise in the demo this year. “Two years [after OWL launched], we’re in conversations comparable to the biggest sports leagues in the world,” he said.

Cherry and Blizzard Entertainment strategy and analysts lead Kasra Jafroodi also addressed concerns about viewership numbers being goosed by Twitch embeds on various websites. Jafroodi said while the embeds impact certain metrics, like uniques and views, it has a minimal effect on the AMA measurement in particular. “The reason we use AMA is because it can’t be driven up by embedding,” he said.

“One of the things that’s important to us is that we want to have a pure viewership metric,” added Cherry. “We want to count every fan who watched and did so credibly.”

The past weekend’s Grand Finals saw the San Francisco Shock and Vancouver Titans go head to head, with the Shock proving decidedly victorious in a 4-0 sweep. Zedd served as the event’s headlining performer at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, and was joined by Kehlani for a surprise performance during the pre-show.

Next season will see OWL moving from the Blizzard Arena to a home-and-away format. Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports and commissioner of OWL, told Variety in an interview last week that the format “unlocks what we think is special about this league.” “It can’t be the Overwatch League without being in home markets,” he said.

Popular on Variety

More Gaming

  • The Game Awards

    The Game Awards 2019 Nominees: 'Death Stranding,' 'Control' Lead the Field (Full List)

    The Game Awards 2019 unveiled nominations for this year’s event, led by Hideo Kojima’s epic “Death Stranding” with nine nods and Remedy/505 Games’ “Control” with eight nominations. This year’s Game of the Year nominees, in addition to “Control” and “Death Stranding,” are “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” “Resident Evil 2,” “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” and “The [...]

  • Google Stadia

    Google Stadia Reviews: Game-Streaming Service Not Ready for Primetime

    The first takes on Google Stadia, the internet giant’s new game-streaming service that debuts Nov. 19, are out. And the consensus is that Stadia is needed more time in the oven before it was served up to the gaming crowd. Google’s big promise with Stadia is that players can access top-tier game titles without a [...]

  • Game Awards OrchestraThe Game Awards, Show,

    Game Awards 2019 to Play on 53 Cinemark Screens Alongside 'Jumanji: The Next Level'

    This year’s Game Awards, recognizing the top video games, creators and esports of 2019, is coming to the silver screen. In a three-way partnership, the Game Awards, Cinemark Theatres and Sony Pictures are teaming on a superticket program pairing the Dec. 12 live simulcast of the 2019 Game Awards in 53 Cinemark locations with a [...]

  • John Carmack John Carmack, Chief Technical

    Oculus CTO John Carmack to Step Down

    One of the driving forces behind Facebook’s virtual reality efforts is leaving his post: Oculus CTO John Carmack announced Wednesday afternoon that he was transitioning to a “consulting CTO” role this week, and devote most of his time to new challenges outside of the company. “I will still have a voice in the development work, [...]

  • Magic Leap Raising Another Funding Round

    Magic Leap Is Raising Another Big Funding Round

    Augmented reality startup Magic Leap is raising even more money. The company is currently in the process of raising its Series E round of funding, a spokesperson told Variety on Monday. Magic Leap previously raised around $2.6 billion, including $280 million from NTT Docomo in April. “Magic Leap is in the midst of a significant [...]

  • terminator vr

    VRstudios Launches 'Terminator' VR Experience at Dave & Buster's (EXCLUSIVE)

    Just in time for the launch of the new “Terminator: Dark Fate” movie, Dave & Buster’s is getting a “Terminator: Guardian of Fate” virtual reality experience, courtesy of VRstudios. The experience, which features the voice of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, is launching at 130 Dave & Buster’s locations across the U.S. Just like previous [...]

  • Death Stranding

    'Death Stranding': How PlayStation Tackled the Unique, Mysterious Marketing Campaign

    There are a few reasons why “Death Stranding” might seem like a marketing slam dunk. It’s the first game from Hideo Kojima, the video game legend behind the “Metal Gear” series, since 2015, and also the first since he reformed his Kojima Productions into an independent studio, partnered with Sony Interactive Entertainment. It boasts Hollywood [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content