The Overwatch League opened its 2019 season earlier this month to 13 million viewers, a 30% increase year over year, according to a press release.
The opening was held on Feb. 14 at the Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, where opening week tickets were completely sold out. For “Overwatch” fans around the world, watching online was the next best option. On any minute of the opening season for the Overwatch League, an average of 440,000 viewers were watching, which is a 14% increase year over year.
The Overwatch League opening matches were watched in more than 190 countries, and the events were broadcast in six languages, demonstrating the wide reach of the popular multiplayer shooter.
The 2019 season also saw the addition of eight new Overwatch League teams, putting the total number of teams at 20.
The Overwatch League growth is a part of a wider industry trend, as esports in general are becoming increasingly popular— viewing and participating. Companies like GameWorks are creating esports lounges to play casually or partake in tournaments, which could further bring esports into the public eye. Plus, the inclusion of esports in the Olympic Games is an ongoing discussion.