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: NBC's eSports Debut

2017 eSports TV Ratings: NBC's eSports Debut

Rocket League Universal Open On NBCSN (Photo: NBC Sports)

Rocket League Universal Open On NBCSN (Photo: NBC Sports)

TNL Take: Earlier this week, Feature Writer Jordan Fragen had a detailed analysis of DisneyXD's whopping 60+ eSports and Gaming programming slate.

How's everyone else doing?

Two very interesting data points from the latest ratings.

TNL Infographic 060: eSports TV Ratings - NBC's Debut (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 060: eSports TV Ratings - NBC's Debut (Infographic: The Next Level)

NBCSN

By far the biggest eSports on TV story this past week was Rocket League's Grand Finals on NBC Sports Network on Sunday. Until the Grand Finals, the qualifiers were shown on various NBC Regional Networks like Philadelphia and Chicago [Note: I had 3 people call me from Chicago and couldn't believe what they were watching in the bar 👍🏽 ]

I'm a big fan of Rocket League and rooting for the game's future but the lowest rated live eSports program with 34,000 total viewers was surprising. What's even more surprising is that the repeat at midnight had almost double the viewership as the 9PM Live event.

But was it?

Here's what I wrote last month when Rocket League announced multiple different distribution partnerships:

The Next Level July 19, 2017 (Photo: The Next Level)

The Next Level July 19, 2017 (Photo: The Next Level)

One of the biggest eSports weekend's was against Game Of Thrones new season.

This past weekend was the Game Of Thrones season finale.

If it's not obvious at this point, here's how you eSports TV ratings will do against Game Of Thrones.

Game Of Throne's Monstrous Ratings (Photo: HBO)

Game Of Throne's Monstrous Ratings (Photo: HBO)

 

TBS/ELEAGUE

Turner continues it's partnership with publisher Valve by first starting with Counter-Strike and now showed DOTA2 and the run up to eSports largest prize pool, The International which hit ~$25M this year.

While those programs performed well - and even beat highly produced events like ELEAGUE's Major - there was 1 program that stood out.

The highest rated eSports program for ELEAGUE this year wasn't an actual event - but a 3 year old documentary on DOTA made by Valve.

Valve's "Free To Play" Documentary (Photo: Valve)

Valve's "Free To Play" Documentary (Photo: Valve)

If a 3+ year old documentary that's been available on Netflix, YouTube and a host of other places performs that well and place that next to DisneyXD's content and you can start to see the need for what I've been talking and hoping for the past year: 

Good. eSports. Shoulder. Content.

Many, many startups and companies are tackling this space and over the next year should see a slew of content released.

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.