2017 eSports TV Ratings: Madden Championship, Street Fighter Soars and FIFA


2017 Madden Champion Skimbo (Photo: EA Sports)

2017 Madden Champion Skimbo (Photo: EA Sports)

TNL Infographic 038: 2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 038: 2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

  • EA MADDEN: This weekend saw the conclusion to EA Madden's 1st Season of competitive play with Michael "Skimbo" Skimbo taking home the belt along with $100,000. While the total viewers were ~100,000 less than last year there are two potential reasons: 01/ Last year's Championship was on ESPN2 which is in 15M+ more households than the NFL Network /02 The 1st Madden Championship on TV, held on Tue afternoon and with no other eSports competition probably added to the allure.  

The 48,000 viewers in the 18-49 demo was the #2 ranked show on NFL Network for Sunday.


  • ELEAGUE STREET FIGHTER: This week saw Turner's ELEAGUE Street Fighter series soar to 221,000 total viewers and 145,000 in the 18-49 demo making it the #2 ranked show for the year and even ahead of ELEAGUE's Counter-Strike Major. Will be tough but would great to see the 5/26 Championship reach the 300,000 total viewers mark.

Even more impressive, ELEAGUE beat the English Premier League in BOTH total viewers and the 18-49 demo. For the Twitter "comments", the EPL afternoon slot is better than ELEAGUE's 10PM start time in addition to being....the English Premier League which got $1B from NBC Sports for a 6-year rights deal.


  • EA FIFA: The 5/6 Europe Regional ratings were updated garnering 83,000 total viewers and 46,000 in the 18-49 demo. This weekend is also the conclusion to EA FIFA's 1st Season as well as the finalists battle it out in Berlin.

Q2 2017 eSports TV Ratings: Street Fighter Falls, FIFA on ESPN2


ELEAGUE Street Fighter (Photo: ELEAGUE)

ELEAGUE Street Fighter (Photo: ELEAGUE)

TNL Take: Q2 eSports TV ratings and news over the past week:

TNL Infographic 036: Q2 2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 036: Q2 2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

  • EA FIFA: Ratings for the Regionals for Rest of the World and America's was updated for the end of April. The America's Regionals saw a significant drop to 63,000 total viewers from the Miami Regionals in February that saw 96,000. Miami did have a better programming slot (Sunday evening) vs. the America's (Sat night). This weekend's European Regional numbers will show if that trend continues.


  • ELEAGUE STREET FIGHTER: Street Fighter continues to befuddle having increased total viewership by 100,000+ between 4/21 and 4/28 to 291,000 - but then dropping from 291,000 to 160,000 for this past week's episode on 5/5. Will be interesting to see where Street Fighter ends up as it winds up it's inaugural season on 5/26.

Although Street Fighter only garnered a 0.09 rating in the 18-49 demo - it still beat the English Premier League on NBC Sports Network against a 0.07.


  • ELEAGUE COUNTER-STRIKE: Turner also announced a 2-team only Counter-Strike $250,000 event featuring the Finalists of the January Major (Astralis vs. Virtus Pro) on June 16. Not only is this the largest prize pool for a 2-team only event, it will be shown on both Twitch at TBS. Why is that interesting?

Because last time not only did it break Twitch viewership figures, but "beat" TV as well. 

ELEAGUE Major: Twitch vs. TBS (Chart: The Next Level)

ELEAGUE Major: Twitch vs. TBS (Chart: The Next Level)


  • EA MADDEN: This Sunday 5/14 will see the conclusion to EA Madden NFL 17's 1st eSports Season with the Madden Championships on the NFL Network at 9PM.  If the Madden Championship beats the Madden Bowl total of 190,000, EA's Madden has a shot at ending up in the Top 5 for the first half of 2017.

Q2 2017 eSports TV Ratings: The CW Is #1 Again


Q2 2017 eSports TV Ratings: The CW Is #1 Again (Photo: The CW )

Q2 2017 eSports TV Ratings: The CW Is #1 Again (Photo: The CW )

TNL eSports Infographic 034 (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL eSports Infographic 034 (Infographic: The Next Level)

Here's what stands out so far in Q2:

Another reason the numbers are higher: the time. Last year's Mortal Kombat event was on Monday Prime Time and same for H1Z1; on a Thursday night at 9:00 PM.

One additional point on H1Z1, if you compare the 18-49 ratings vs. the NHL Playoffs which basically ran head-to-head (yes, on fewer total households compared with the NBC Sports Network), it's still just about even - 0.2 vs. a 0.3 for the NHL.

H1Z1 18-49 Demo Ratings vs. the NHL Playoffs (Photo: Showbuzzdaily.com)

H1Z1 18-49 Demo Ratings vs. the NHL Playoffs (Photo: Showbuzzdaily.com)

NHL Playoffs 18-49 Ratings (Source: Showbuzzdaily.com)

NHL Playoffs 18-49 Ratings (Source: Showbuzzdaily.com)

  • Turner's ELEAGUE has now had 5 episodes of Street Fighter and seems to settling in around the ~300K Total Viewers and 100K+ in the 18-49 demo.  As nothing has been announced yet on Counter-Strike Season 3 or Turner's potential next league, it will be interesting to see if they continue to give it the same time Friday late night time slot.


  • The only other addition was EA's FIFA Regionals and waiting to verify the numbers but with 17 programs through 4 months compared with just over 20 for all of 2016, we're off to a good start.


Also want to pour the bottle out for the good man behind SportsTVRatings.com who will no longer be providing Nielsen data I hunger for on a weekly basis on his site. He patiently taught me so me so much about how to - correctly - understand TV ratings and separate the sensational headlines from the truth. You will be missed sir and this one's for you.

Q1 2017 eSports TV Ratings


That's a TV. (Photo: SciptMag)

That's a TV. (Photo: SciptMag)

TNL Take: Yesterday, we looked at the big increase in Brands investing in eSports in Q1. This is across digital platforms, events, team and player sponsorships and a slew of other options.

Now let’s see how eSports performed on TV.

TNL Infographic 032: Q1 2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 032: Q1 2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

Outside of ELEAGUE’s Counter-Strike Major and it's first fighting event with Street Fighter, almost all Q1 programming was basically sports, EA Madden NFL and EA FIFA.

I believe in the Fighting Genre for eSports for two reasons: I love it and more importantly, a child can understand the game.  You need a physics degree to watch a game like League of Legends if you’ve never watched it before.

FYI: Two-time college champion for Street Fighter 2 on Super Nintendo Entertainment System. #BringIt

The #1 viewed eSports program in 2016 was Mortal Kombat, a fighting game which went against the Grammy’s no less.  ESPN's EVO Championship, another fighting tournament, had more viewers than 10 Counter-Strike events including their Season 2 Finals.

So why?

Why did this past Friday’s viewership of ELEAGUE’s Street Fighter event only get 200,000 total viewers - about 30% less than the Average Total Viewership for both Counter-Strike seasons?

Why did it only beat the Madden Bowl on the NFL Network by only 5% when TBS is in ~15M more households?

Why did the Madden Challenge get 91,000 viewers which would have made it almost the lowest viewed eSports event in the last two years?

Why do we park on driveways and drive on parkways? 

I don’t nor do I believe anyone else has a definitive answer to any of these questions but I’ll take a few stabs:



Friday at 10PM is “the graveyard for TV programming”. I’ve said this numerous times and there’s no way TBS is going to put eSports on Prime Time where they generate millions in ad revenue.  Re-runs of "The Big Bang Theory draws' a much larger audience and Turner Ad Sales doesn't need to explain anything to sell it.

The Madden Challenge on the NFL Network was not only on Sunday night – the most popular TV viewing day – but at 9PM going against "The Walking Dead", MLB Opening Weekend, and "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" - don't lie, I know you watch it

So ELEAGUE Street Fighter at the worst time and EA Madden against serious competition.

Not a good formula.



Friday’s televised event was the culmination of a several days of live streamed Street Fighter content. After hours of programming, more than likely only the hardcore fans wanted to watch the Finals at 10PM on a Friday night.

Further, there was also League of Legends on Twitch – which kills it in viewership every time – Gears of War tournament, Madden and ESL Counter-Strike Pro-League on YouTube.

Yet for all the millions Turner poured into the studio – which looked absolutely amazing – the marketing and the continual press; the Street Fighter event ranked as the #17 watched show out of the 19 eSports programs Turner has put on.



This is the most curious one for me. Lot’s of people have said Sports eSports won’t work – I’ve even said it.

But the NFL has been around for decades, instantly recognizable and I’d bet more people know who Julio Jones is than Blanka – that’s a character in Street Fighter BTW.

So should have Madden done better?

Madden at 9PM was going against some of the most top rated shows and events on Sunday on a smaller scale sports channel - so not expected.

But why couldn't it have been put on earlier when the NFL Network was basically showing nothing?


I'll leave with this stat which I think is interesting. Although ELEAGUE's Street Fighter may have "only' gotten 200,000 Viewers look at both Total and 18-49 vs. the MLS:

MLS vs. ELEAGUE TV Ratings (Chart: Sportstvratings.com)

MLS vs. ELEAGUE TV Ratings (Chart: Sportstvratings.com)

Pretty much dead even for 18-49 viewers although demo's would be different.

But in a mantra I'll continue to say:

I don't care about the next 12 months. I care about the next 12 years.