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.

✔️

 

/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.

✔️

 

/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.

✔️

 

/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.

✔️

 

2017 Esports on TV Prediction Score: 4 out of 5

2017 eSports TV Ratings: Nintendo World Championship, The CW, ELEAGUE

2017 ESPORTS TV RATINGS: NINTENDO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, THE CW, ELEAGUE

2017 Nintendo World Championship on DisneyXD (Photo: Nintendo )

2017 Nintendo World Championship on DisneyXD (Photo: Nintendo )

TNL Take: This week continues the eSports on TV trend with several key stats:

  • DisneyXD broadcast the 2017 Nintendo World Championship for the first time and shows Nintendo's dedicated push into eSports in 2017 in addition to a great Sunday time slot of 5PM
  • Not including DisneyXD's 60+ eSports programs to date, the total on all other channels including ESPN, TBS and the NFL Network has now hit 50 - more than double that of 2016
  • The CW again benefitted by showcasing eSports during a key time slot - Tuesday Prime Time

[Due to the massive amount of programming, The Next Level will showcase the Top 25 in the weekly reports for easier viewing]

TNL Infographic 062: 2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 062: 2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

THE CW

Out of all the eSports programming over the past year, The CW has continually given the best programming time slots: Weekday Prime Time. Not including Candy Crush - please don't @ me - The CW again takes the #1 slot with their Chasing the Cup series, this time featuring Injustice 2. 

Does this showcase the popularity of Injustice 2 and the Fighting genre for this audience? Not necessarily as ESPNU showed the same game on a Wed at 1AM and drew the lowest audience of any eSports program with 11,000 viewers.

More than likely the high viewership is The CW's reach, coupled with a great time slot; vs. the actual title as evidenced by the #2 program around another new game H1Z1.

 

DISNEYXD

We've already covered DisneyXD's massive eSports programming but this past week was a special one: the 2017 Nintendo World Championship were broadcast for the first time on the channel. 

And it delivered.

TNL Infographic 063: DisneyXD's eSports TV Ratings and Nintendo World Championship (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 063: DisneyXD's eSports TV Ratings and Nintendo World Championship (Infographic: The Next Level)

Nintendo's family friendly games fits perfectly with DisneyXD's audience and it's not surprising that the 2017 World Championship would rank as #1 - what is surprising is that it drew 30%+ more viewership than the 2017 EVO Super Smash Bros. Finals which is the second ranked program.

Nintendo based games/events currently make up 6 of the top 7 ranked eSports programs on DisneyXD.

 

TBS

This week ELEAGUE had their Counter-Strike preview show before the start of the playoffs, which always perform well as it's just 1 hour vs. 3 hours.

The very interesting part is that this week, the Preview show was shown at 3AM and still garnered 300,000+ viewers. 

Pretty amazing considering the time slot and more data showing the audience appetite for eSports shoulder content.

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.