The Overwatch League wrapped up its 2020 season last weekend as the San Francisco Shock were crowned champions after beating the Seoul Dynasty in the Grand Finals, becoming the first team ever to win back-to-back titles.
This was the first season of the OWL to be exclusively streamed on YouTube since Activision Blizzard partnered with the streaming platform for all of their esports leagues. After the switch to the League’s new streaming platform, the OWL Grand Finals produced a peak concurrency of over 186K viewers, an increase of 106% from the regular season average peak audience.
Even more impressive is the resilience of the league throughout Covid-19. The OWL made adjustments in operations to switch to online matches with virtual sets and remote production, allowing viewers to still enjoy the professionalism they’re used to seeing. The League was able to capitalize on the explosive growth of live stream viewership during Covid-19 which also helped produce substantial audiences for the various tournaments throughout the season. The peak audience across the in-season tournaments was about 91K, larger than what some individual esports leagues generate in an entire season.
After the season ended, Jon Spector (VP of Overwatch Esports) congratulated the OWL with a nod to the impressive viewership:
“As I said after the match, I’m so proud of the entire Overwatch League staff who worked incredibly hard to put on a great show for our fans, and we’re extremely proud to finish this season with 38% global viewership growth from last year. YouTube is a great partner for us and our viewership in Asia was massive as Grand Finals ran live in primetime for those audiences, which was great to see. Again, congrats to the Shock as the first-ever OWL repeat champions and thank you to all of our teams and staff for putting on a great season despite everything going on. Most of all thank you to the best fans in the world. See you in 2021!”
– Jon Spector, Vice President of Overwatch Esports at Blizzard Entertainment