2017 Esports Predictions Review: TV

2017 ESPORTS PREDICTIONS REVIEW: TV

 2017 Esports Predictions: TV (Photo: Cesar Level)

2017 Esports Predictions: TV (Photo: Cesar Level)

TNL Take: As this year comes to a close, this week The Next Level will review our 2017 predictions and score how well we did.

Here were the 5 predictions made for esports and TV:

 

/01 20+ esports events in 2016. We may see double that this year.

 2017 Esports TV Ratings (Chart: The Next Level)

2017 Esports TV Ratings (Chart: The Next Level)

We had more than double esports programs on DisneyXD alone this year.  

Across the board we will have seen 100+ esports programs on TV in 2017 and a huge increase from 2016. The Top 25 are listed above but expect to see Madden show up near the top when it debuts on The CW next week.

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/02 More broadcast deals as Publishers look to monetize their content

The trend for exclusive esports content continued in 2017. Facebook had several deals including partnerships with Blizzard's Heroes of the Dorm, G2 Esports, 76'ers owned Team Dignitas, ESL, PUBG and Hi-Rez Studios for Paladins Premier League.

YouTube Gaming also picked up a few exclusives including ESL's English language streams for Counter-Strike, a new partnership with Faceit and a slew of product developments

Twitter also announced they would livestream 1,500 hours of esports content this year and we saw many TV broadcast deals as well.

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/03 Another OTT deal such as MLBam and Riot's $300M deal

 League of Legends at Madison Square Garden (Photo: Riot Games)

League of Legends at Madison Square Garden (Photo: Riot Games)

December of last year, we saw a huge partnership between BAMTech and Riot Games to the tune of $300M

We still don't know the full distribution list for both Overwatch League and NBA 2K League but expect both of those to be announced soon.

We did see the announcement of the WHAM Network for a 24/7 esports and gaming lifestyle channel along with ESPN's upcoming OTT launch which should include esports content but neither launched in 2017.

 

/04 More Sports esports on TV like Madden, FIFA and NBA2K

 EA Madden NFL On The CW (Photo: EA Sports)

EA Madden NFL On The CW (Photo: EA Sports)

Last year saw only 2 esports sports programs on TV with Madden 17 and FIFA 17. In 2017, including re-runs, sports esports included 14 programs. FIFA was shown on ESPN, the first time esports has been shown on the flagship channel.

Further, the EA Madden NFL Challenge will have a 1-hour special on The CW on December 27th and should see strong ratings.

A massive increase in sports esports on TV compared to 2016.

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/05 EVO will be bigger and more fighting esports content

EVO 2017 was bigger than EVO 2016 when taking into account that this year was shown on ESPN2, Disney XD along with repeats on ESPNU

More fighting content? Yes with the airing of both Street Fighter V and Super Smash Bros Finals.

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2017 Esports on TV Prediction Score: 4 out of 5

Rocket League's Ratings Score For ELEAGUE

ROCKET LEAGUE'S RATINGS SCORE FOR ELEAGUE

 ELEAGUE Cup (Photo: Turner)

ELEAGUE Cup (Photo: Turner)

TNL Take: This week we look at the last two weeks with the launch of the ELEAGUE Cup: Rocket League.

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TBS

Well done ELEAGUE. 

Not surprisingly, the premiere performed well, ranking it the #4 show behind only The CW which is in a lot more households than TBS.

 

As Rocket League is completely family friendly, Turner was able to close several brand deals including new entrants Cheez-It, Boost Mobile and Navy Federal Credit Union.

What's also not surprising is that this past week - which hit #2 for the year - wasn't an actual esports event but rather content shot around the ELEAGUE Cup aka shoulder programming.

 ELEAGUE Cup Rocket League Feature Series (Photo: Turner)

ELEAGUE Cup Rocket League Feature Series (Photo: Turner)

Here's an example of Rocket League's content:

Not only is Rocket League easy to watch, the game and teams are starting to build their own storylines - just like traditional sports.  Further, this wasn't the normal multi-hour tournament but rather just 1 hour long which works well at the Friday 10PM time-slot.

 

Expect more content of this type from ELEAGUE.

2017 eSports TV Ratings: Injustice 2 Remains Strong

2017 ESPORTS TV RATINGS: INJUSTICE 2 REMAINS STRONG

 Injustice 2 on ELEAGUE (Photo: Turner)

Injustice 2 on ELEAGUE (Photo: Turner)

TNL Take: The past few weeks have seen a relative dearth in eSports TV programming unlike the summer onslaught that Disney XD unleashed.

Here's the latest look at the Top 25 to date.

 2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

TBS

Injustice 2 remained strong drawing in 209,000 total viewers with almost 2/3 of the audience falling in the key 18-49 demographic.

While the 2nd week did drop from last week's premiere, the decrease of ~10% isn't too bad considering it was going up against a weekend of League of Legends Championship and the start of Blizzcon.

It will be interesting to see if the ratings increase this Friday with relatively little competition vs. last weekend.

As I mentioned last week, the Fighting genre continues to dominate with half of the Top 25 falling within this category.

2017 eSports TV Ratings: Injustice 2 Premieres On TBS

2017 ESPORTS TV RATINGS: INJUSTICE 2 PREMIERES ON TBS

 Injustice 2 On ELEAGUE (Photo: Turner)

Injustice 2 On ELEAGUE (Photo: Turner)

[Edit: Quick update today due to travel]

TNL Take: This week saw the debut of Injustice 2 with Turner's ELEAGUE.

 2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

TBS

The debut of ELEAGUE's Injustice 2 kicked off with a strong start garnering 231,000 viewers with half being in the key 18-49 demo.

The genre that's currently drawing the most viewers?

Fighting.

Taking a look at the Top 25 rated shows for 2017, 12 are in the fighting genre. We will dig into this a bit deeper but two key points standout:

  • Short Learning Curve: Unlike games like League of Legends or Counter-Strike which have plenty of strategy and a deep learning curve, fighting games are extremely simple: just beat your opponent. A casual viewer can understand the action almost instantly.
  • Passionate Community: The FGC (Fighting Game Community) is one of the most enthusiastic audiences within eSports. With little publisher support, almost all of the live events are grassroots driven.