The Overwatch League kicked off on January 10th with Seoul Dynasty playing Dallas Fuel and the competition has drawn a massive amount of attention.
According to Twitch director of content marketing Ben Goldhaber on Twitter, as reported by PCGamesN, the first match was watched by a peak of 415,000 viewers.
Goldhaber went on to say that part of his role at the streaming giant is to predict how many viewers big tentpole events might bring in. While the Twitch staffer says he is normally pretty on the money with such claims, he was "so completely and utterly wrong" about the Overwatch League.
As Bleeding Cool's Patrick Dane points out, these figures are possibly the tip of the iceberg, with the League having separate broadcasting deals in China. Overwatch is a big deal there, so it wouldn't surprise us to see that 415k double with that region's contribution.
So why Overwatch League has attracted such a large viewership? The big driver will surely be novelty - this was the debut of Blizzard's Overwatch esports push, so part of these viewers will be checking out what this is all about. The company's approach to competitive gaming is certainly a bit different to what we've come to expect, but some Wall Street analysts are not convinced by Activision Blizzard's strategy.
The game has also has north of 35m players, which is quite the prospective audience for such an event.
Overwatch League has peaked over 415k viewers. On Day 1. #OWL2018— Ben Goldhaber (@FishStix) January 11, 2018
Soo......— Ben Goldhaber (@FishStix) January 11, 2018
One of my roles at Twitch is to predict viewership for tentpole events.
I'm actually really good at this part of my job. Historically, my peak CCU range estimates are correct 90% of the time.
I WAS SO COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY WRONG ABOUT #OWL2018