Overwatch League finals did not draw eyes on ESPN

    
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Doooo not care

The Overwatch League finals were broadcast on ESPN, but odds are that if you watched them you did so on Twitch or other streaming services. And the numbers bear that out, too; it turns out that viewership of the finals on ESPN was rather poor. Looking at the Nielsen ratings reveal that Overwatch did quite poorly by the standards of shows around it and other shows in the same time slot.

If you’re dreading or hoping that this means the death of the league itself, however, you should back away from that, since broadcasting this was in and of itself a marketing stunt and intended to push awareness more than draw viewers. Still, it doesn’t seem like a great start for the competitive side of the game in broadcast format, although at least it’s better than watching people playing poker.

Source: Kotaku
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Danny Smith

If you don’t play it its a hot mess of random visual noise, if you do you would on average probably be more likely to want to play it than watch it. Esports are all about simple visuals and easy to understand visual information. Theres a reason Street Fighter 2 is a competitive staple but Mario Party isn’t.

Besides the bloodbaths Mario Party would lead to.

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Kherova

ESPN? Not a thing where I’m living. Anyway the gamers and fans will default to Twitch and all the others won’t understand what they are watching anyway. Therefore not a big surprise that viewer numbers on ESPN are low.

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Loopy

I appreciate what OWL is trying to do with ESPN, but it’s gonna be an uphill battle for a couple of reasons:

1.) Corde cutters have left traditional cable networks long time ago. They’re not coming back to it just to watch esports – too many other platforms that are already available, on demand.
2.) “hurr durr NOT A SPORT” crowd will have a hard time accepting e-sports sharing platform with ball sports.
3.) It’s not an easy game to understand for brand new viewers. I like how they added a brief overview of each map type before the game starts, but unless you’ve played the game you’re gonna be pretty lost for a while.

Overwatch is the first game i took interest in the esports side, and there are definitely some growing pains. I would love for esports to have the same amount of respect and coverage as regular sports, but i think we’re still very far from that point, and i’m ok with that.

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Bruno Brito

Considering that Overwatch is, even in the e-sports scene, a terrible game to watch, i don’t know what it was expected by putting it in a network of old people watching younger people do what they can’t.

Oh, OHHHHHHH, wait…

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A Dad Supreme

I wouldn’t say it’s something older people “can’t do”. It’s more like something they don’t want to do. Anyone can play video games.

It’s more akin to ESPN putting Curling, Steeplechase, Jai Alai or Mongolian Horseracing or even Soccer on (all of which they have done) and expecting most US viewers to watch them longer than five minutes.

I seriously hope whoever talked them into this on an executive level has to deal with the consequences so that kind of weird programming can stop here in the US.

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Bruno Brito

Anyone can play video games.

Well, anyone can also play soccer in a more casual way. Anyone can play videogames, true, but not everyone can actually put the time to become Faker, nor is everyone actually willing to do it.

Honestly, the only differences that e-sports and normal sports have is the physical aspect. Outside that, you still have tactical aspects, you still have to train a LOT to achieve perfection, something impossible. You still get paid worse than people actually believe you do, unless you’re Faker or Cristiano Ronaldo, you get under abhorents levels of stress, and most of your fanbase is casual people that love to talk about what you do, but can’t actually do it, or “won’t” do it, as you said.

Anyone can also write their own name, and that’s a form of drawing, but to get where i got, you have to be willing to put some ammount of effort. That’s my main point here.

Edit: Just a small addendum: If there’s a issue with ESPN putting content that requires more than 5min attention spans, that’s not a issue with their content, and more with the attention span itself. That being said, i’m sure Mongolian Racing is way more fun to watch than anything Overwatch related, and i’m being serious. Overwatch is one of the WORST games to watch, ironically, given the name.

The World Cup was a great show in that people actually can watch stuff for hours long if they’re invested. I don’t know if the USA had any major viewership on the WC, but i’m sure Brazil had a lot. Hell, i hate watching soccer and i was hearing the cheers from my house that came from neighborhood bars and homes.

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A Dad Supreme

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-world-cup-updates-20180612-world-cup-tv-ratings-in-the-u-s-are-1530639130-htmlstory.html

“World Cup TV ratings in the U.S. are down 42% without American team”
“Excluding games involving the U.S. team in previous World Cups, the average declined 28% from the 2014 tournament in Brazil and was up 1% from the 2010 tournament in South Africa.”

Here in the US, there has been a not-too-subtle attempt to force soccer down people’s throats. The reality is, few still watch it and fewer even play it. The only reason Americans tend to watch soccer is for the “home team” aspect but once that’s removed, it gets very bad ratings even in a championship setting.

Conversely, all other American sports generally don’t suffer bad ratings during championship times even if their “home team” is out. NFL fans will still watch the Super Bowl if their city/team is out of it. MLB gets it’s highest ratings usually during the World Series. NBA everyone hates the Warriors and another half hate LeBron, but will tune in when their own team they root for is 12-60.

Point is, Video games is something else being jammed down throats, but the difference is even less people here care about it and would rather play them than watch them since, anyone can play video games.

Many people can play basketball but might never get but one shot in the bucket during a game, but anyone can play Overwatch in mostly the same fashion as a “pro” vs similar level of competition. (pro vs pro/ amateur vs amateur) which is why it’s not that interesting.

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Slaasher

LOL. As an “older person” who loves playing games and MOBA’s Don’t underestimate us!
We were here first LOL (again).

Is 50+ considered older?
I don’t feel older.
Let’s not talk about whether I look older…..

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Bruno Brito

It is, but older people make up the lack of better muscular prowess and minute reactions with better mindset and knowledge.

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A Dad Supreme

You don’t need “better muscular prowess” and “minute reactions” or anything else to play Overwatch. To be a pro you do, but that’s not the topic.

It’s like auto racing.

Most people already know how to drive a car so they don’t think “I can drive just as good as Dale Jr”. They just look at it and say “They are driving around in a circle for a couple of hours, it would be fun if I did it but boring to watch someone else do it”

Hell, half of them watch just for the crashes, not the actual race.

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IronSalamander8 .

Not a fan of E-sports in any way, shape, or form and while a lot of friends love sports they too have no desire to watch people play games professionally.

And of course as others have pointed out, streaming is so popular now that even those that did want to watch this would have used Twitch or other such services.

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Kevin Smith

This stuff is geared more toward younger people. Do they think the young people of today are buying network tv? No they are streaming everything like they already do online. The days of network tv are coming to a end, sooner than a lot of people expect. If you use an outdated thing like the old neilsen ratings system for anything today you are already left behind.

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Dread Quixadhal

The thing is, many people who still watch network TV channels, now also do it via streaming, thanks to things like Youtube TV and Hulu Live and whatever else is out there nowadays.

AFAIK, the antique “Neilsen” ratings concept still assumes people sit down on the sofa and watch ONE TV, and that whatever channel is on is actually being watched, rather than simply being background noise to keep the pets (or children) amused.

When I want general background stuff, I tune a streaming service into a channel so it plays stuff at me which I might pay attention to, or might not. When I want to see a specific show or event, I load THAT on-demand.

If we ever get sufficient infrastructure so streaming video 24/7 won’t be a big deal for bandwidth, I suspect streaming services will start offering youtube-style “channels” where it plays random content that fits a theme, until you tell it to stop.

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Jack Pipsam

Personally I’d watch poker over E-Sports any-day tbh.

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Robert Mann

Agreed, especially since their personalities are often interesting, rather than just more or less crude.

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Doctor Sweers

Can’t remember the last time I watched something on ESPN. Garbage network now.

zerohunt
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zerohunt

I agree. Did not help that a huge chunk of ESPN’s reporters got axed last year.

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Bannex

Well I for one am shocked…