TNL Take: Last year saw a huge increase in esports programs on TV with well over 100 across numerous channels.
Let's take a look at what 2018 has delivered so far.
Madden continues its run as a very popular esport for TV. Considering that ESPN2's audience is already familiar with football makes sense as to why it performs so well. Even the Madden Club Championship winner Gos stated that Madden belongs on TV and with the ESPN/Disney deal, we will see more programs this year.
ELEAGUE's esports content programming outside of tournaments ranked high in 2017 and remains the same for 2018. The "Road to the Boston Major", a 5 part behind-the-scenes series on teams and their players, has performed well and higher than several programs last year. Episode 1 was against the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony and the remaining 3 episodes should garner 200K+ viewers.
While the ELEAGUE Major wasn't shown on TV, it absolutely killed it on Twitch, setting a new record for viewership on a single channel with 1.1M+ peak concurrents.
There was a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald that caught my eye stating that "FIFA 18 is proving more popular viewing than actual A-League matches; attracted a larger audience than the average ratings for the competition".
Did FIFA esports really beat its traditional counterpart?
Digging in a little deeper was the classic comparison of digital viewers vs. TV viewers, with Twitch grabbing 138,000 viewers compared with the average A-League audience of 119,000. However, assuming 100,000 average concurrent users for FIFA would still be impressive and in sight of A-League's audience.