Overwatch arena during the 2019 finals in Philadelphia.

Nielsen Registers 16% Uptick for OWL Finals Viewership

  • Overwatch League strikes big viewership numbers
  • Worldwide, the finals added 16% more viewership
  • U.S. numbers increase by 41% among 18-34-year-olds

Nielsen reported a 16% increase in viewership for the Overwatch League finals in 2019. Domestically, viewership increased by 41% year-over-year.

Overwatch League Viewership Increase for 2019 Finals

The Overwatch League (OWL) finals held in Philadelphia saw an overall increase in viewership, data measurement firm Nielsen reported. According to data obtained by the company, Average Minute Audience (AMA) increased by 16% to 1.12 million comparing to a year back when the event took place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

To calculate the average number of viewership, Nielsen divided the total minutes watched by the total minutes broadcast. In the United States, the numbers hit a staggering 472,000 or a 41% year-over-year (YOY) increase.

Similarly, Google search queries for Overwatch have already overtaken any other esports game except for League of Legends (LoL). The AMA improved the most in the age groups between 18-34, which registered up to 182,000 viewers or a 13% YOY growth.

To comment on the developments, OWL and Activision/Blizzard Esports Chief Strategist Kasra Jafroodi said this:

“Seeing global growth of 16% year over year for our grand finals is very promising heading into 2020, where the Overwatch League becomes even more accessible to our global market.”

The numbers are the official statistic data of the OWL, processed by Nielsen as part of a partnership signed between the companies in September. Similarly, the data company will also help Activision/Blizzard asses viewership for Call of Duty League, the latest franchised competitive format the company has inaugurated.

Activision/Blizzard Wants to Identify Better Investment Strategies

Nielsen will help the company create opportunities for more profitable investment and advertisement partnerships in future. To this end, the data company will examine both online and TV viewership.

In January, the Overwatch League signed a broadcast partnership with TV channel Esports1, which allowed spectators from Germany, Austria and Switzerland to watch from their TV sets. Similarly, the company also introduced a Portuguese broadcast.

More significantly, Overwatch AMA managed to beat Major League Soccer (MLS) and Major League Baseball (MLB) viewership. Jafroodi further commented that all numbers by Nielsen was accurate:

“We’re fully committed to transparency and ensuring all numbers we share are comparable and accurate. We have been industry leaders in developing standardized, third-party verified metrics to measure viewership and audience growth.”

It’s worth noting that Nielsen only took into consideration numbers from Twitch, Zhanqi, CC, Huya, and Bilibili for the online stats, and ABC for US linear TV.

However, Esports Charts, another industry observer, cautioned in a blog post that the OWL has been steadily losing viewership.

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