Our eSports fighting genre had a decent showing as the EVO World Championship wound down. Looking at how the esports industries are attempting to go mainstream, we can compare the data with national sports during similar time slots focusing on the recorded viewer base. Although it wasn’t an amazing viewer turnout, the data shows that eSports has an assured future in network broadcasting. With the Yankees/Red Sox averaging 2.066 million on ESPN, and the EVO World Championships: hitting 201K on ESPN2 – room for growth is needed. This is on top of the 213,927 watching on Twitch (in all languages), with 182,716 watching the main channel.
The producer of ESports League said.
Funny how a 1 hour show will do better than a 4.
— Jason Baker (@Alchemister5) July 19, 2016
This was in response to E-League Week 7 getting more viewers than the Week 8 LCQ Semi-Finals. Although the statement was true, the Machinima series “Chasing The Cup” that was hosted on The CW had triple the viewership of EVO. This speaks to eSports on a few levels, the first being the audience we are trying to target by charging into ESPN prime time. Why is the eSports scene so focused on competing with physical sports, when digital sports have their own following? You can answer this question by looking into the current eSports sponsors, or you could focus on the community that supports it.
It’s hard to sit still for hours watching matches pass, without a true relationship with the competing teams. How did we find ourselves with such a large fan base on teams such as C9 and Team Liquid, and where did they come from? Certainly this has nothing to do with location based support as in traditional sports, in fact – players get traded all the time so it’s nearly impossible to have full team support. The true eSports fans that keep track of most public matches and tournaments find reason to support their teams/players through endemic play styles and character choices. Twitch helps this with follower retention, but you’ll never get a 1:1 ratio when huge prize pools and advertising is involved.
What would happen if our tournament organizers began to group our events by genre and date? Do you think it would take away from individual game exposure, or would you find that the eSports community would set aside more time to view all the content when it’s grouped. What would happen if we didn’t push two 5-hour events together back to back, and separated it into 3 channels playing 2-hour events simultaneously. Would you think the fans would be angry that they might miss a match, or would you find support through game variety. Replays will always be available, and for our team sponsors looking for that long term exposure this might be a smart move for eSports broadcasting and our future competitive environment.
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