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Overwatch League: Stage 1 comparison

Posted Mar 29, 2019

For many, the second competitive season of the Overwatch League was an excellent opportunity for identifying both the trends of game's growth and its esports future. We also did not stand aside and are ready to present you a comparison of the achievements displayed by the respective first stages of the two regular seasons.

Immediately, we note that there was a rather large change to the format of holding the events. Unlike the debut event, the second season has received a full-fledged playoff for half a million dollars prize money, played between the eight best teams.

Previous time, the first stage of the regular season ended up being a one-day event, one that received a prize fund of 125 thousand dollars. Unlike the 2019 installment, the total amount of money was shared only between two participants. The growing number of franchises forced the organizer to reconsider its attitude to these aspects of the league.

How this second-year entry managed to distinguish itself? There is an overall growth of the audience. Chinese broadcasts aside, the average figure has increased by 26 thousand viewers, whereas the broadcast peak figure still lags behind the first season by 138 thousand viewers.

When taking the Middle Kingdom into account, the overall increase reaches 121 thousand viewers. But just as we said above, in this case the peak figure still suffers a drop, this time by 98 thousand viewers. It seems that a significant role in this was played by the hype surrounding the debut of the OWL.

The new additions to the official broadcast list are also worth noting. The Portuguese and Russian streams were added. On average, these two newcomers have managed to gather 4 and 3 thousand viewers, respectively, with the peak figures amounting to 7 and 6 thousand viewers. In other words, this duo is clearly inferior to the rest of its peers.

As for the other languages, their broadcasts display stable growth when it comes to the average amount of viewers. As for the peak figure growth, it has actually managed to hit negative numbers for the English (minus 132 thousand viewers) and Korean (minus 25 thousand viewers) broadcasts.

Only Chinese and French fans of the game have managed to fully reach "the black". Namely, they have managed to increase their average viewership figures by 104 thousand and 4 thousand respectively, with their peak figures stopping at 111 thousand and 17 thousand.

In the future, the growing amount of participants and the movement to the home arenas (promised by game's creators) will definitely increase the shooter's fanbase. Until that time, the organizer should hardly hope seeing a huge increase in figures. It is quite possible that under the current circumstances, Overwatch would soon hit the glass ceiling.

It can be concluded that the community of the league is still in its formation stage, resulting in the ambiguous figures shown by the second season. We can already see the current achievements – such as the large investments into the event, the major TV channels showing the event's matches, and much more. But as for the long-term effect this will have on the league, it will become clear only at the end of the second season of the OWL.

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