While the esports industry is constantly growing, many people believe that Overwatch is not a popular esport. Altough I myself thinks that this has been proven false by viewership and engagement statistics from the second season of the Overwatch Esports League. The league became more successful in its second year with a bigger audience and a longer schedule. In addition to this, professional players have seen an increase in their salaries, with some players earning more than USD 300,000 per year. This doesn’t include any additional money earned from streaming or competing in tournaments.
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What is Overwatch Esports Viewership’s in Detail?
To start this off, I will discuss the Overwatch League viewership statistics for Season Two. According to an Esports Insider article, in comparison with Season One, Season Two saw “eight percent higher viewers in the total unique viewer count, with 20.8 million Season Two viewers vs. 20 million in Season One.” Even though viewership has increased, this percentage is still lower than other popular esports such as League of Legends and Dota 2. However, when comparing to other popular Overwatch Esports tournaments such as Contenders or Apex leagues, it can be concluded that the OWL viewership is quite high. “The average concurrent viewership for Season Two was higher than both Season One and the Overwatch Contenders 2018 Grand Finals.” This statistic shows that spectatorship has increased and is still growing.
Concerning numbers, many professional players have also seen their salaries increase with this second season of the Overwatch League. According to an ESPN article, players can make anywhere between $50,000 and $300,000 per year. This doesn’t include any money earned from streaming or competition in other tournaments. Players can sign contracts with OWL teams but how much they will be paid depends on their skill level and the current needs. The highest-paid player is Dallas Fuel’s Jang “Decay” Gui-un, earning $150,000.
Talking about the success of Overwatch Esports
Some people might say that viewership and salaries aren’t the only indicators of success for an esport. Another argument could be made that Overwatch doesn’t have rivalries between teams or players, so it can’t be considered a successful esport. This argument becomes less valid when looking at the last Overwatch World Cup. The article states that “team South Korea, which won the tournament in 2016 and 2017, has dropped out of this year’s finals.” Other teams have also risen to be contenders for winning this year’s tournament including Finland, USA, Russia and Chinese Taipei. The article concludes that “if you want to see some of the best Overwatch Esports players in the world, the Overwatch World Cup is where it’s at.”
Has the Overwatch Esports Viewership’s increased really?
The OWL viewership has increased since its first season and professional players can now earn more than USD 300,000 per year. There are also rivalries between teams and Hearthstone esports has become more popular since the last Overwatch World Cup. The OWL has seen success in its second season and hopefully there will be even more viewership, salaries and esports for future seasons.
At Blizzcon 2018 Blizzard highlighted that they are very interested in expanding into China, where the game is immensely popular and other esports titles such as League of Legends and Dota 2. The article provides interesting statistics about OWL viewership, salaries and the last Overwatch World Cup. The author also discusses how Blizzard is looking to expand into China for future seasons of the OWL. This article would be helpful for people who are not well-versed in OWL viewership, salaries or esports because it gives a general summary of important information related to these topics. This could also be helpful in an educational setting in which statistics are discussed for people who aren’t familiar with Overwatch League viewership, salaries and esports because it explains the basic information concisely.
Since this is a short article it does not provide much insight into whether or not the OWL has seen success in its second season. The author does not discuss the general success of the OWL in comparison to other esports or non-esports. It can be inferred that viewership has increased since Season One, salaries have increased and the last Overwatch Esports World Cup had some exciting rivalries among competing teams. Still, it is unclear how this compares to other successful esports such as Dota 2 or League of Legends. This article could be expanded upon to provide a more thorough analysis of success for the OWL as an esports.