2020 Overwatch League sees major viewership drop


After the 2020 Overwatch League ended nearly two weeks ago with a big victory from champion team Francisco Shock, Esports Charts revealed interesting viewership data for the OWL. When it comes to average viewers, Overwatch League saw about 46 thousand average viewers in 2020 compared to about 120 thousand viewers in 2019.

The 2020 viewership for Overwatch League Season 3 dropped 61.4% compared to last year’s Season 2. With over half of 2019’s OWL viewers not present this year, Overwatch esports proves to be a disappointment. Lots of expectations were in place this year as the COVID-19 pandemic caused the quarantine. With more people available remotely, fans believed OWL viewership would increase in 2020. Unfortunately, the drastic decrease bodes poorly for Blizzard.

In fact, when it comes to peak viewership, 2020 OWL brought 183 thousand viewers. But in 2019, Overwatch esports saw a peak of nearly 320 thousand viewers. In terms of viewership, 2019 peaks reached about four times that of the average while the 2020 peak didn’t even triple the average. Interestingly, Overwatch esports viewership increased in Season 2 compared to Season 1. All this shows that there are far fewer fans tuning in to Overwatch League this year.

Esports Charts believes part of the reason viewership dropped this year for OWL because of the league splitting into two regions. Because Korean viewers made up a large section of Overwatch esports viewership, numbers dropped as these viewers saw less interest in the Western Pacific region of 12 teams. The English broadcasts saw the biggest decrease whereas the Atlantic division suffered less.

Esports Charts analyzed the OWL viewership by teams too and found the Pacific division teams to lead viewership. Unsurprisingly, San Francisco Shock led the numbers with Philadelphia Fusion following and Paris Eternal in third.

The Overwatch League has a lot riding on it since its formation in 2017. Though Blizzard made initial pushes, many fans believe Overwatch esports is struggling, especially as esports like VALORANT rise. The huge drop in 2020 OWL viewership shows that something needs to change soon so that Season 4 is not the same.

Written by Justin Amin

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