The cancellation of DPC-tournaments didn't become an obstacle for creating an epic atmosphere at the tournaments. Epic Esports Events together with WePlay! Esports organized OMEGA League in Dota 2, and the event gathered 412K viewers at the peak of the broadcast.
The casters and ancient greek entourage have caught the viewers' attention. The players fought in many matches and divisions for the overall $650,000 prize pool.
In our turn, we must define how successful was the online format for that kind of high-class event.
OMEGA League was divided into three regions - Asia, America, and Europe. Moreover, each region had its own divisions. Ancient was a tier-3 division, Divine - tier-2, Immortal - tier-1.
We've also discussed the specific features of the tournament organization with Anton “WarLocK” Tokarev, Lead Esports Manager at the WePlay! Esports media holding.
It is known that leading esports teams were a part of the organization of OMEGA League. To what extent were they involved and are you planning to repeat such a partnership in the future?
When the teams are a part of the event organization process, they are more committed to making it a success. It’s easier to involve players in the media activities, they want to discuss and follow the event schedule. There is a reasonable chance that we will repeat such a partnership in the future.
Competition in Asia was held from August 1 to 22. Initially, the qualifiers were held in China and South-East Asia, but the division was only one - Divine.
It hasn't been without a scandal. Team Linger was disqualified from the tournament and received a ban from WePlay! Esports and Epic Esports Events for the unsportsmanlike match.
The Dota2RuHub broadcast was the most popular in this region - 15K Peak Viewers. The next one is English broadcast by WePlay! Esports - almost 10K viewers at the peak.
English and Russian became the most popular languages by stats, but Vietnamese, Filippino, and Mongolians also appeared on our list. We would like to see more Asian spectators, considering the location of this region.
496G is leading among teams in Asia - 16K Average Viewers.
How did the collaboration with Epic Esports Events impact the way your studio worked? Was it easier compared to WePlay! Pushka League or did you take an effort to improve other broadcast aspects?
During WePlay! Pushka League, our studio hosted English and Russian-speaking broadcasts. The Russian-speaking broadcast for OMEGA League was organized by our partners Epic Esports Events, while WePlay! Esports covered the English-Speaking broadcast. We received a ton of positive feedback about the event and hope to continue making Dota 2 fans happy.
The members of Maksym Bilonogov’s team which is in charge of studio setup, outfits, augmented reality, SFM-clips, and other aspects of the broadcast, always try to exceed themselves, and for them, every tournament is like the last.
Divine had both a bigger prize pool of $31,500 and was on air 2x more, but it had a smaller number of participants. 6 teams received invites from organizers, and 4 came from North and South American qualifiers.
As long as the tournament included the teams from North and South America, which are noted for their linguistic diversity, the most significant part of the audience was Spanish-speaking - 30K Peak Viewers. But English-speaking fans made the biggest contribution to Hours Watched - 46,4%.
Beastcoast became the most popular team - 23K fans watched their matches on average. The peak was reached at their game against Thunder Predator during the playoffs and concluded 45K viewers at the broadcast's peak.
4 teams from Divine appeared in the Ancient division along with players from qualifiers. The tournament has collected 11K English-speaking Peak Viewers, and they've contributed 78,4% to Hours Watched.
The peak was reached at the final match of business associates vs. xixihaha - 15K viewers. Business associates became the Ancient division champions, but Clinton "Fear" Loomis has left the team after the tournament and announced his vacation till the start of the DPC-tournaments in 2021.
Why did you choose this league format with the division? Did you want to make the league more meaningful in various regions? Have you ever considered splitting CIS and EU regions?
The WePlay! Esports team created the format of OMEGA League taking many factors into account. The format focuses on making every match of the main event as competitive as possible.
The split into regions is caused by technical necessities. The CIS and European players stay on the same servers and there is no need to force them into separate regions. If it were possible to host a unified global online event with the teams from each competitive region, many tournaments would not get split into regions at all.
Moving on to the most exciting part. OMEGA League Europe Divine Division was held from August 10 to September 5.
The difference in the players' "tiers" became the main feature of the league. 12 teams entered the tournaments via qualifiers, and 4 came from the Immortal division. This directly influenced the league's views, as viewers were more interested in watching the matches with more famous teams.
And so it happened, the Viewers Peak was reached at the match of NAVI against HR and collected 90K viewers. In turn, "Born to Win" became the second most popular team of the tournament. They were watched by 49K Average Viewers, although the team took only 5th place at the event.
NIP and CyberLegacy also drew some attention - 80K Peak Viewers watched their match during Playoffs' Day 1. FlyToMoon became the winners of the Tier-2 division. They also became the most popular team of the tournament - 51K Average Viewers.
What's so special about the Immortal division? Its participants. 10 teams received direct invites and the other 2 reached the highest tier via closed qualifiers.
Can you point out any advantages of online-only events? How do you think, will the online-only trend continue, or the industry might switch the focus back to LANs after the pandemic?
The biggest advantage of online-only events is that the organizer can save on the budget and other internal resources, while the teams don’t need to go to a different country.
One shouldn’t doubt that tournament organizers will start hosting LANs as soon as it becomes possible to do so, because there will always be a demand for such events. I believe until the pandemic is over, mixed online-LAN formats in which the teams travel to the venue or studio location but perform without a live audience, will grow in popularity.
Team Secret finished the playoffs win no defeat and knocked out OG, the two-time International champions, with a 3:0 score. The same game became the most popular of the tournament and gathered 412K spectators at its peak, making Immortal the best division of Omega League by statistics.
The Hours Watched concluded 15M thanks to 8 broadcasts in different languages, and this also was a reason for such diversity of the audience. Russian-speaking viewers contributed 41% to Hours Watched, but English-speaking fans are leading by Peak Viewers.
Twitch is #1 among platforms, but we should note that Facebook reached the mark of 71K Peak Viewers. Such a result was achieved thanks to the popularity of the platform among Spanish and Asian viewers.
Thanks to WePlay! Esports and Anton “WarLocK” Tokarev for the answers. Don't forget to subscribe to our social pages and discuss the news on our Discord-server.