The CW Tops 2017 Q2 eSports TV Ratings

THE CW TOPS Q2 ESPORTS TV RATINGS

The CW's H1Z1 Tops Q2 eSports TV Ratings (Photo: Daybreak Studios)

The CW's H1Z1 Tops Q2 eSports TV Ratings (Photo: Daybreak Studios)

TNL Take: As we close out the first half of 2017, we've seen more eSports programming on TV than all of 2016.

TNL Infographic 047: 2017 Q2 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 047: 2017 Q2 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

THE CW: 

The CW again takes the top spot just like they did last year, this time around the popular game H1Z1. The CW is in more households than other networks on the list however I'd still point out the one major difference: scheduling.

The H1Z1 event aired on Thu at 9PM aka Prime Time viewing.

 

ELEAGUE/TURNER

ELEAGUE launched a new eSports series around Street Fighter that did exceptionally well considering it was the games first major television debut and the lack of support that Capcom has provided in supporting the FGC (Fighting Game Community) - that looks to be changing however.

TNL Infographic 048: ELEAGUE TV Ratings History (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 048: ELEAGUE TV Ratings History (Infographic: The Next Level)

This past weekend, ELEAGUE held their "Clash For Cash" rematch Counter-Strike event between Astralis and Virtus Pro, the teams that were in the Finals which set Twitch viewership records.

This event wasn't even close to the previous Counter-Strike finals on both TV and Twitch.

TNL Infographic 049: ELEAGUE Counter-Strike TV Ratings History (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 049: ELEAGUE Counter-Strike TV Ratings History (Infographic: The Next Level)

Even the scheduling seems odd.

The same weekend held Dreamhack (major event), CWL Anaheim (major Call of Duty event) and CEO (major fighting event) - on top hundreds of hours of gaming and eSports content related to E3 which ended last week.

Why not hold it the following week or with less content clutter?

The canary in the coal mine for advertising is renewals - aka Brands got value from their investment and will spend again with you. 

There were 0 Non-Endemic Brand deals for "Clash For Cash".

ELEAGUE's new season around Injustice 2 will be telling to see if Buffalo Wild Wings, Arby's, Credit Karma, GEICO and others come back.

Q1 2017 eSports TV Ratings

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:

 

1/ TIME SLOTS

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.

 

2/ TOO MUCH CONTENT

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.

 

3/ MADDEN VS. PROGRAMMING

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.