Twitch Top 10 Week of Nov 6th: League Stays On Top


Doublelift Back and Boosting the League Numbers (Photo: CLICKON eSports)

Doublelift Back and Boosting the League Numbers (Photo: CLICKON eSports)

By Feature Writer Jordan Fragen

TNL Take: Welcome back! Every week, The Next Level dives into the past week’s Top 10 Games on Twitch to bring you the key storylines behind the data. Last week, we dove into the League of Legends World Championship, the potential cracks in PUBG’s armor, and whether Overwatch’s World Cup pointed to success for OWL.

Twitch Top 10: Week of Nov 6th (Infographic: Waypoint Media)

Twitch Top 10: Week of Nov 6th (Infographic: Waypoint Media)

Waypoint Media is the leader in Esports and gaming audience data. They support clients like Nielsen in their efforts to understand the Esports audience. Reach them at

Worlds Maybe Over, but League Stays on Top

Frankly it was initially surprising to see League hold the top spot in such dominant fashion. Despite being the first week of the official off-season, League of Legends was watched for almost double the amount of hours of PUBG despite the fact that both games were streamed for roughly the same number of hours.

However the data suggests that the offseason itself is responsible for League of Legend’s dominance. The majority of the streamers responsible for the most viewer hours were pros. Out of the top 10 channels, 8 were current or former pros.

Pros Streaming League of Legends (Graphic: Waypoint Media)

Pros Streaming League of Legends (Graphic: Waypoint Media)

Without Worlds keeping fans up at all hours of the night and pros regaining some free time, fans flocked to their favorite personalities in droves. Alone, these 8 top channels associated with pros earned over 5.9M viewer hours, nearly ⅓ of all the hours fans spent watching League of Legends in the last week.

Beyond showing the importance of players’ personalities, this data shows that esports provide a meaningful platform for talent discovery. Imaqtpie, Yoda, Dyrus, and Shiphtur are all former LCS stars, but have turned that success into a second career of streaming. In fact, 3 of these 4 all belong to Echo Fox’s memtastic challenger series team Delta Fox. The team’s stated strategy was to acquire the top streaming talent for their challenger roster so it would generate meaningful revenue. Given that these stars are still pulling in the number, it seems to have paid off.


Overwatch League’s Momentum Carried Over Another Week

In last week’s article, we discussed the importance of Overwatch’s viewership during the World Cup. Many looked to it as a barrometer for the league’s potential audience. While the numbers were not outstanding, they certainly helped to clam some of my fears about Overwatch League.

Perhaps more importantly, the excitement about the World Cup and Overwatch League appears to have carried over into this week. Despite all metrics falling from last week (except for hours streamed which rose 20%), the more important comparison is to the weeks before the World Cup.

When compared to the averages for the 4 weeks leading into the World Cup, this week saw a 45% increase in Viewer Hours, a 22% increase in Hours Streamed, a 25% increase in Average Concurrent Viewers, and a 35% increase in Unique Viewers. These numbers are still nowhere close to League, but they are the significant boost that Overwatch sorely needed.

If this becomes a trend rather than a one off boost, Overwatch League may have an extremely bright future ahead of it.


Dota 2 Shows the Importance of Knowing Your Audience

This year marks the start of Valve’s Dota 2 Pro Circuit which is designed to bring more organization and stability to the game. Despite this being an off-week without a major or a minor tournament, the game’s viewership held strong. Compared to last week, Viewer Hours increased 16%, Hours Streamed increased 17%, Average Concurrents increased 11%, and Unique Viewers increased 13%. The only drop was 22% lower peak concurrent viewership, but that is to be expected in a week without a tournament.

What is unexpected however, is where those numbers originated from. Unlike every other game on this list (except current obscure indie hit of the week Get Over It), the predominant language for Dota 2 was not English.

44% of the hours viewed were from Russian speaking channels. Russian channels also held their audiences attention for an average of 55 minutes longer than English channels.

While this may be unsurprising to some, it does point to the importance of looking at the metrics holistically. Should marketers want to reach an Eastern European audience, Dota 2 is currently their best bet.

eSports Week In Review | YouTube vs. Twitch, TV Ratings, Brand Test: Go Cubes


Let's Play Some Games (Photo: JEShoots)

Let's Play Some Games (Photo: JEShoots)

TNL Take: This week, saw the first phase of the launch of the The Next Level 3.0 with a revamped newsletter and podcast section.  

We also looked at YouTube fighting back against Twitch, eSports TV Ratings including The International 2017 Finals on Indian television and a new feature, Brand Test: My Week with Go Cubes.


MONDAY 09/25

YouTube Vs. Twitch

YouTube vs. Twitch (Graphic: Jordan Fragen)

YouTube vs. Twitch (Graphic: Jordan Fragen)

Go Cubes (Photo: Nootrobox)

Go Cubes (Photo: Nootrobox)



NY Media Festival Games Conference (Photo: DMW)

NY Media Festival Games Conference (Photo: DMW)

DOTA2's The International 2017 Finals on Indian Television (Photo: DSport)

DOTA2's The International 2017 Finals on Indian Television (Photo: DSport)



eSports On TV: What Do The Ratings Mean?


Just a Family Watching eSports on TV (Photo: Kotaku)

TNL Take: Now that we're done talking about Super Bowl 51's ratings and God's son performing a miracle  ("Despite Overtime, Ratings Drop!", "Lowest Ratings In 3 Years!", "Lady Gaga Beats Brady!" , "Cheaters!"), let's take some time reflect on another accomplishment this weekend: eSports aired across several TV networks and ESPN's 1st broadcast directly against The Big Game™.

Here are the numbers:

eSports On TV 2017 (Infographic: The Next Level)

So what's this all mean?

As usual, let's start with the qualification: It's very early days with minimal data, so any attempt at analysis or future ratings is an educated guess at best.



Madden Bowl at Super Bowl LI (Photo: Bob Levey/Getty)

Madden Bowl at Super Bowl LI (Photo: Bob Levey/Getty)

Looking at what the NFL Network aired the previous Friday at the same time, Madden Bowl increased Viewership by 57% in 18-49 Viewers:

NFL Network Madden vs. Previous Friday Ratings (Chart: The Next Level)

However on the Spanish language broadcast on Univision Deportes, it performed worse than the 1st Madden event in 2016:

EA Madden NFL eSports TV Ratings (Chart: The Next Level)

Further, take the following points into account:

  • Still early days for Madden eSports
  • Comparing Madden against a long established eSports franchise like Counter-Strike
  • Madden's Fri Night time slot vs. Sunday Morning for Counter-Strike

From a programming perspective and without knowing the content costs, this looks like a win for Madden eSports and NFL Network by only getting 20% fewer viewers than ELEAGUE's Major.



EA Sports FIFA Paris Regionals (Photo: EA Sports)

The Paris Regional Finals for EA Sports FIFA 17 drew the most Media coverage as it would be not only be the 1st eSports program on ESPN's flagship channel but also directly against Super Bowl 51.

However it looks like the FIFA 17 tournament didn't match last years ESPN Super Bowl counter-programming against a Spike Lee special:

ESPN 2016 and 2017 Super Bowl Counter-Programming (Chart: The Next Level)

In addition, the FIFA 17 Paris Regional would have ranked #22 out of 24 when compared with the 2016 eSports programs on TV.

So is that a failure for FIFA?

Not at all. Again, still very early days and even with those low numbers still garnered 40%+ of the audience of ELEAGUE's biggest eSports event while going against the Super Bowl.

We've just started February and already have had 5 eSports programs on TV; not including what the Big Ten Network has aired already.


2017 is on pace to beat 2016's 20+ eSports programs on TV. Let's keep going.

Twitch Beats TV Viewership For ELEAGUE's Major


ELEAGUE Major Finals (Photo: Turner Sports)

TNL Take: Before we even get into the data, let's take a moment to reflect.

It was just 16 months ago that Turner made the announcement to invest in eSports and there was a lot of snickering at that statement.

In 2016 we saw 50+ Non-Endemic Brand eSports Sponsorships - with ELEAGUE garnering Arby's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Credit Karma, Snickers and Domino's - 30+ Pro Sports Team investing and 20+ TV programming events.

There isn't too much laughing now.

This past weekend's ELEAGUE Major featuring the top Counter-Strike teams from around the world shows how far Turner has come in such a short amount of time.

Let me be crystal clear: The Production was amazing. The casters and commentary was stellar. The fan excitement was palpable. The matches were thrilling. The back stories, B-roll and between-game footage was not only funny, but interesting.

Huge kudos to the Turner and ELEAGUE teams for putting on a great event.

ELEAGUE Major Finals (Photo: Turner Sports)

Now the numbers.

A 7AM Pacific start time isn't great for the California kids who partied on Saturday night and was definitely reflected in the TV Ratings (however this was smart timing for the European market, whereas the Finals teams were from Denmark and Russia and tapped into Europe's huge Counter-Strike fanbase).

ELEAGUE Major TV Ratings vs. 2016 (Infographic: The Next Level)

ELEAGUE Major reached 228,000 Total Viewers and 144,000 in the 18-49 Demo and would have ranked #8 among the 18 eSports programs that Turner has run.

While it may look like the ELEAGUE Major wasn't that successful from a TV perspective - it didn't beat EVO which had folding chairs on stage? - there's something bigger happening here.

Outside of the amazing matches, the biggest story to come out was that the single-channel Twitch peak viewership record of 890,000 Viewers was broken with 1M+ Viewers.

However, this is a Peak Viewer number for 1 moment in time and not an Average Concurrent Viewer metric across the ~5 hour event.

Average Concurrent Viewers is the closest apples-to-apples comparison to analyze against TV/Nielsen Ratings - however this metric is usually never released.

But I'm going to do that now.

I looked at the Peak Viewership at 15min intervals during the Major from 10:00 AM to 3:00PM.

Here's what that looks like:

ELEAGUE Major Peak Viewership At 15Min Intervals (Photo: The Next Level)

I'm not including the Y Axis to keep the details hidden but you can clearly see the 1M+ Peak Viewers around 2:45PM when Danish eSports team Astralis won.

Since the Average Concurrent Viewer data wasn't revealed, the closest estimate is to take the Average of the Peak Concurrents at each 15Min interval. That gives us approximately ~675,000 viewers.

Although the ELEAGUE Major was shown on different language streams on Twitch, there is still a large International Viewer % on the main channel. To be conservative, let's remove 50% of that audience, which is fairly standard for Counter-Strike's audience composition.

50% of ~675,000 leaves ELEAGUE major with 337,500 for US ONLY Average Concurrent Viewers - or essentially Nielsen/TV Ratings.

Now let's include the Twitch US Viewership along with TBS's ELEAGUE Major TV Ratings along with additional Sports programming for Sunday:

ELEAGUE Major TV and Twitch vs Sports (Photo: The next level)

Not only did Twitch beat TV in Viewership, the 18-49 Twitch US audience beat the Farmers Insurance Open and was close to both the FA Cup and Australian Open Men's Finals (The Twitch 18-49 Demo % is an estimate).

So what's this tell us?

For the millionth time, eSports doesn't need TV, TV needs eSports. However, to keep the estimated $2M price tag for ELEAGUE Brand Sponsorships, you need TV programming to garner those types of Ad budgets.

I believe that 2017 will be a pivotal year for eSports broadcast rights and Exclusivities.

We've got a long way to go for eSports to be in the same conversation as other Sports Leagues in terms of Revenue and Viewership - but things are looking good.