Compared to the previous season, this year’s edition of Activision Blizzard’s World of Warcraft Mythic Dungeon International has undergone several format changes, including removing regional distinctions in an effort to ‘create a truly global competition.’
The Mythic Dungeon International 2021 consists of two standalone seasons — each featuring four qualifiers and concluding with a $300,000 Global Finals event.
Moreover, the publisher established a separate program for the Chinese region, with the two best teams from the dedicated China MDI season joining the top six league teams in the Global Finals.
The first half of the MDI 2021 season wrapped up on April’s last Sunday, crowning team Echo as its latest champions. The tournament, in which teams compete in completing dungeon runs in the fastest time, has for the first time took place in the game’s latest expansion, Shadowlands.
In this piece, we are going to take a look at how the final event of the first part of MDI 2021 performed in terms of viewership, compare it with qualifiers and see how the competition is doing on a year-over-year basis.
The slow decline of the Mythic Dungeon International
During 18 hours of air time, MDI 2021 Global Finals gathered over 375K hours watched by 21K spectators on average. At its peak, 35K concurrent viewers tuned in to see the final match between Echo and Perplexed.
Perplexed achieved the title of the most popular team in the competition with 24K average viewers. The winners — Echo, who stayed undefeated for the whole duration of the tournament — were just behind, with 22K average viewers.
The English broadcast of the event attracted the majority of viewers, contributing 82.5% to the total hours watched. The share of other languages among spectators was significantly lower — 7.1% German viewers, 4.6% Russian, 3.3% French and 2.4% Portuguese.
Compared to the qualifiers, the MDI 2021 Global Finals wasn’t as successful as the first two events of the series. MDI Shadowlands Cup 1 reached 895K hours watched, 68K peak viewers and 45K average viewers, which is about twice as much as the final event.
The Cup 2 too outperformed the major with 444K hours watched, 34K peak viewers and 24K average viewers.
As the initial hype around the revamped format and the new expansion cooled off, the viewership numbers started dropping. The two following competitions haven’t even surpassed 300K HW, which makes Global Finals the third most-watched event of the series.
Looking at the last year’s statistics, we can see a slight decline in all categories. The MDI 2020 Global Finals event recorded 482K hours watched by 28K viewers on average. The event peaked at 48K concurrent viewers and was the second most spectated event of the 2020 series.
That’s a 22% decline in hours watched in 2021, 27% decline in peak viewers and 25% decline in average viewers, compared to the previous season. A conclusion that the implemented format changes have led to a decrease in viewership numbers may come up, although this is not quite the case, as it has to do with Activision Blizzard’s decision to change its broadcasting partner at the beginning of 2020.
The decline is better visible if we look at the MDI Global Finals 2018, which attracted significantly more spectators than any following MDI event — 1.2M hours watched, 122K peak viewers and 52K average viewers. (The MDI 2019 final event took place at the BlizzCon 2019 and aired only for 6 hours; therefore, we purposely excluded it from these statistics.)
Even though the MDI 2021 season is not yet over, the competition isn’t probably going to get closer to its former success anytime soon. The change of broadcaster impacted the whole range of Blizzard’s esports titles, including Hearthstone and the Overwatch League, and this trend is likely to continue in the future.
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