TWITCH TOP 10 WEEK OF OCT 23RD: TOURNAMENTS GALORE
By Feature Writer Jordan Fragen
TNL Take: It’s that time of the week once again. Welcome to our breakdown of the stories behind this past week’s top 10 games on Twitch.
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This week was stuffed to the brim for esports fans. Beyond the penultimate weekend of the League of Legends World Championship, both CS:GO’s EPICENTER and DotA 2’s ESL ONE Hamburg took place; and these tournaments secured these games 1st, 3rd, and 4th respectively on our list. Let’s take a look at each one individually to provide a bit more context.
LEAGUE OF LEGENDS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2017
Poor China. Despite hosting the tournament and the fans cheering hard for their hometown teams, both RNG and Team WE fell to the Korean juggernauts.
While League took the top spot in dominant fashion, the numbers did fall compared to the previous week. Total hours watched fell by 15%, unique viewers by 2% and viewer hours per unique by 12%. Some of this can probably be linked to fewer matches being played and the resulting shorter broadcasts from Riot.
The 5% increase in peak viewership from last week supports this theory. One way Riot could address this next year is to hold both semifinals matches on the same day to better concentrate viewership, but for obvious reasons ticket sales would suffer. We’ll see next year how they chooses to address this.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive remains a unique game in the world of esports. Unlike MOBAs and Real-Time Strategy games, CSGO’s dominant teams tend to hail from Europe and more recently Brazil. EPICENTER perfectly encapsulated this regionality both in the teams who played and the location of the tournament itself. Held in St. Petersberg, the tournament was dominated by the excellence of European and CIS teams... with one major exception.
Since 2015, the SK Gaming roster has paved the way for a Brazilian renaissance in Counter-Strike. Lead by the legendary FalleN, the team took the tournament in a close match with Virtus.Pro. Along with their victory, SK also claimed the #1 spot on HLTV’s widely used CSGO rankings, making them the current #1 team in the world.
This tournament drastically improved CS:GO’s numbers compared to last week. Viewer Hours increased by 110%, Average Concurrents by 122%, and Peak Concurrents by a whopping 300%.
This is not only due to a larger audience from last week (Unique Viewers increased by 22%) but each of these viewers also watched 75 minutes more on average. This shows the power of esports to concentrate and drive viewers to tune in.
ESL ONE HAMBURG
In earlier years, DotA 2 has struggled to maintain interest leading up to the International each July. Despite insane viewership and prize money each July, a dearth of tournaments leading up to it often created confusion for casual viewers and instability for players. Valve aims to change that this year with the Pro Circuit and ESL One was the first of the 11 planned majors.
Despite falling from 4th last week, DotA 2’s numbers are up. Viewer Hours Increased by 20%, Average Concurrents by 25%, and Peak Concurrents by 46%. Similar to CS:GO some of this is due to a larger number of viewers tuning in (Uniques were up by 8%) and each of those viewers tuning in for an additional 27 minutes on average.
However, perhaps the largest success of the tournament was its effective sponsorship integration. Mercedes Benz was the headline sponsor for the tournament and brands and agencies should take note: This is a perfect case study on how to correctly sponsor an epsorts tournament.
The execution was phenomenal for being both logical and on-brand. Beyond customizing a car for each team (that they could use for the weekend) and elaborate intro videos prominently featuring their product, Mercedes also allowed fans to vote via Twitter DM for their tournament MVP. Virtus.pro’s Solo ended up taking home the vote and a brand new Mercedes worth $50K.
The Auto category has grown astronomically in 2017 and this showcases exactly why.
WARFRAME SHOWS THE POWER OF COMMUNITY DRIVEN PROMOTION
Quick flashback to last week: Out of nowhere, Warframe rocketed to 7th on the rankings. The game’s Plains of Eidolon expansion was released and publisher Digital Extreme looked to reward fans for tuning into their favorite streamers with in-game loot. We contrasted this with South Park who adopted the more straight forward strategy of sponsoring Twitch’s Top talent to play the game.
Guess which of these two games managed to stay on the list?
While Warframe certainly had the advantage of a dedicated fanbase, the company’s promo certainly appears to have helped keep fans interested. While the number are down from last week (about a 5% drop for Viewer Hours, Hours Streamed and Average Concurrents, 36% for Peak Concurrents, and 42% fewer Unique Viewers), this is likely due to more casual fans dropping off. However, the dedication among the hard core fanbase shows; on average viewers watched almost 2 hours more than last week.
BINGE WATCHING TAKES A WHOLE NEW MEANING ON TWITCH
This past week, Twitch began a two week long marathon showing all 236 episodes of Yugioh. For those of you who didn’t grow up in the late '90's/early 00’s, Yuigoh is an anime based on a trading card game that ran for 236 episodes. It never reached the massive popularity of Pokémon, although it definitely tried. The english dub was made by the same company and it has reached a level of meme-ery unlike almost any series.
Twitch is known for its experimentation and in July it ran its first anime marathon which was a huge success. Love it or hate it, the real time reactions of Twitch Chat make viewing non-interactive media like TV-shows a community experience.
But the only thing Twitch chat likes more than being hyper reactive is memes.
From the over-the-top voice acting and the terrible game play decisions of the protagonist, Twitch chat fully embraced the silliness of this 90s classic. Reaching 525K viewers for an average of 3 hours each, the marathon managed to take the 10th spot on the list.
For brands looking to get into esports, understanding the humor and tastes of Twitch are of the utmost importance. Anime plays a critical role in these tastes and the industry has taken note. The two largest OTT services for anime already sponsor teams Cloud9 and Panda Global.
Consider tuning into the second half of the marathon this week to get a glimpse for yourself.