The Biggest Weekend For eSports On TV

THE BIGGEST WEEKEND FOR ESPORTS ON TV

EVO 2017 Finals (Photo: EVO, Robert Paul)

EVO 2017 Finals (Photo: EVO, Robert Paul)

TNL Take: What a weekend for eSports content across multiple platforms.

Whether you were at the beach watching on your phone, on your laptop pretending to do work in a coffee shop, or throwing back a cold one at a bar - there was a plenty of eSports content to watch.

Here's what was on Twitch alone:

eSports on Twitch This Weekend (Photo: Twitch)

eSports on Twitch This Weekend (Photo: Twitch)

That's not even including the biggest Fighting event of the year, EVO:

EVO Weekend Schedule On Twitch (Photo: EVO)

EVO Weekend Schedule On Twitch (Photo: EVO)

And that's still not even including similar content streamed on additional platforms like YouTube Gaming, Twitter and Rocket League on ESPN3.

While all that content may seem like a good thing, we'll get to that shortly.

Let's see how TV performed.

TNL Infographic 052: 2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 052: 2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

 

This weekend saw the most amount of eSports on TV to date with 5 programs including replays.

 

EVO 2017 ON ESPN2

While some headlines may say "EVO dropped from last year", it was a paltry 20K viewers or 10% from last year and there's clearly two reasons why: A ton more content conflict than last year and #WinterIsComing

What's also interesting is that the EVO Street Fighter V Finals were also broadcast on DisneyXD adding another 101,000 viewers and surprisingly wasn't mentioned in most press.

 

SUPER SMASH BROS. ON DISNEYXD

This one is by far the most surprising one for me.

The total viewers 184,000 beat the EVO Street Fighter V Finals on ESPN2 which is amazing. While the 18-49 numbers were the lowest % of any eSports program over the last 2 years, that should be expected based on the demographic of the DisneyXD audience which skews younger. 

Programming it at 6PM on a Sunday during dinner hour - so the younger viewers could watch it - was a very smart move.

Again, also not touted in the press was that this was also shown on ESPNU. While the viewership was negligible, the content is great for that audience.

[Edit: New feature writer Jordan Fragen will have a deeper analysis on EVO 2017 overall and DisneyXD next week].

In the perfect timing department, on Monday ESL announced a programming partnership with DisneyXD.

Who's next on the TNL eSports Guest Podcast series being recorded today?

This handsome gentleman, Craig Levine, CEO of ESL North America and we'll discuss this new partnership and a whole lot more.

Next on TNL eSports Guest Podcast Series: Craig Levine, CEO of ESL North America (Photo: ESL)

Next on TNL eSports Guest Podcast Series: Craig Levine, CEO of ESL North America (Photo: ESL)

 

CANDY CRUSH ON CBS

Seeing Candy Crush on a major network during primetime on a Sunday night is amazing for the simple fact that if you told someone this would be on TV 3 years ago, they would think you're crazy.

Is Candy Crush an eSport? What's an eSport? Capital S or lower case s? Wait, Street Fighter isn't an eSport?!?! I'll let the "endemic journalists" debate these critical topics.

Episode 2 saw a drop of 1M+ total viewers but again that reason is fairly easy: #WinterIsComing

 

WHAT'S THIS ALL MEAN?

More eSports content on major networks and multiple platforms is good to increase the mainstream exposure to a new audience.

Without getting too much into Tao Te Ching, I believe in the duality of life: with every positive, there is some equal negative.

Why would all these tournament and event organizers plan so much on the same weekend? Why program any content against that tiny show about dragons that no one watches? Is there a big enough audience currently to consume this much content to make it viable to brands and media companies who would buy this content?

 

As always, time will tell.