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Overwatch League: Thriving and Struggling Fanbases by the Numbers

Dallas Homestead

With the Overwatch League being a new league, fans have been and will be picking their favorite teams based on many different factors. For the teams, that means that they need to try and hit as many of those factors as possible to bring in as many fans as they can. This helps with merch sales, viewership, ticket sales and much more. While the league is young there are some teams that are grabbing fans by the thousands while there are those that are struggling quite a bit.

Taking a look at social media followings is one of the best ways to indicate how well a team is doing in terms of their fanbase. For this article, Twitter, Reddit, Discord, Facebook and Instagram were looked at in order to determine what teams are currently doing well, at least according to the numbers. Keep in mind that these numbers are not the end all be all for these team’s followings but they should be a good indicator of how they are doing.

San Francisco Shock- Thriving

Image Courtesy of the San Francisco Shock

Their five different accounts combined are the best overall with 266,493 followers, likes or fans. This is only about 1,000 more than the Dallas Fuel but, it shows that they have done an excellent job marketing themselves. It is even more impressive considering they were not a playoff team last year and their roster has changed quite a bit since this time last season. What is clearly working for them this season is how well they are currently playing, as they are undefeated in Stage 2 and coming off a second place finish in Stage 1.

They were the most followed team on twitter at the time of writing this article with over 165,000 followers. The closest team to them are the Dallas Fuel with just over 139,000 followers. Many people talk about how solid their social media crew are and it is clear that they have made a major impact.

Where San Francisco struggles though is on Reddit where they have ~1,300 subs. Most teams aren’t necessarily thriving on Reddit but with the massive fanbases San Francisco has on other mediums, it is surprising to see how little Reddit has.

Guangzhou Charge- Struggling

Guangzhou Charge Stage 2 Week 1 Preview
Image Courtesy of @GZCharge on Twitter

While they are one of the newest teams in the league, they are struggling to find a following with only 53,111 between the five mediums. This is at least true from what is seen on their accounts that are big in North America. While their recent play has not done much to inspire confidence in the team, they did play well in Stage 1. Also, they are one of the few teams to have a multi-national roster. One has to wonder if their branding has not done them any favors?

They are currently last in four of the five mediums. Their Discord is the only one where they are currently in front of only the Washington Justice. The Charge have ~1,000 people there. Otherwise, they are well behind most of the other teams.

Hopefully, this team will be able to figure out a marketing strategy here in North America. Alternatively, they may only focus on their home areas in China, though it seems that this would be missing out on a large potential fanbase. Either way, they need to start getting a plan together or they might end up falling even further behind than they already are.

Dallas Fuel- Thriving

Is this really much of a surprise? If anything the fact that they are in second with 265,425 might be the most surprising part. After their Home Weekend, it was clear that the OWL made the right decision to come to Dallas. Their fans seem to stem from the players they originally started with back in Season 1. While the roster has shifted quite a bit, their original fans remain strong.

Dallas Fuel stage two
2019-04-28 – Overwatch League 2019 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Seeing as they are ranked so high, it would make sense that they rank either first or second in the five major categories. They are first in Instagram, Discord and Reddit, and second on Facebook and Twitter.

The branding, social media and just about everything else is going right for the Dallas Fuel. As long as they continue to market well to their fans, there is no doubt that they will remain as one of the biggest fanbases in the OWL. Lastly, don’t forget, they are the only team to have their own cartoon mini-series, “Fuel House”, due to their promotion with Jack in The Box.

Washington Justice- Struggling

Washington Justice Stage 2 Week 1 Preview
Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

From the get-go, this team has struggled in just about every way. The fact that they are not the lowest overall can only be due to the fact that they are in the United States Capital city. Otherwise they may be ranked dead last. The Justice have 57,990 fans across all the mediums.

They are ranked last on Discord with only 656 fans. Oddly enough at the time this information was gathered they had the same amount of people following them on Facebook as Discord. Luckily though, they only rank third-worst there. Their most promising area where they can improve quite quickly if they start to do their graphics and overall social media better is on Instagram and Twitter.

The Justice need help in many ways. One of the best things they have going for them though is that their play should continue to improve. With a young star in Corey “Corey” Nigra, the vet in Junhwa “Janus” Song and a new star support line in Nikola “sleepy” Andrews and Yeonjoon “ArK” Hong, this team is on their way. Hopefully, along it, they will start to build up a bigger fanbase.

Atlanta Reign- Thriving

Seoul Dynasty's Must-Watch Games
Courtesy of Atlanta Reign

They may only be ranked at 13 but, they are the top of the expansion teams. In total, they have 116,083 people across the five major mediums. Getting Daniel “dafran” Francesca was clearly a solid move in multiple ways. Not only did he provide great play while on the team but, he also brought this team quite a bit of publicity and fandom with it. It is no wonder that they asked him to become an official team streamer once he announced his retirement.

Seeing as they are in the middle of the pack it is obvious that they are more in the middle of most of the categories. Although, there are some that they are actually ahead of original teams like the Mayhem and Dragons. On Reddit and Instagram, they are currently ranked at 11 among the OWL teams. At the pace they are going it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them pass a few of the original 12 teams by the end of the season.

Atlanta have a lot of great things that they are doing. They just beat the NYXL to give them their first loss of the season. Also, it seems as though they are starting to figure out life without Dafran being on the roster. Hopefully, their fun announcements and having players who are willing to get bowlcuts for the people will continue to show their personality. This will no doubt continue to make them an OWL fan favorite.

Vancouver Titans- Struggling

Photo: Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment

Considering they are the best team in the league, it was more than a little shocking to see them sitting at 16 over the five mediums with only 91,570. Not only are they the reigning champions from Stage 1 but they also have most of the players from the greatest contenders team in the history of the game. They are fun to watch, their branding is on point and most of their graphics and social media are considered top tier. They can only hope that these numbers will improve with more time in the league.

As of gathering this information, the Titans are fourth worst in Twitter followers and then ranked around sixth worst in all the other categories. Luckily they are not trailing most of the teams right in front of them by too much in a couple of mediums. Their Reddit is very weak as it does not even have 1,000 subs.

If they continue to win, this team will skyrocket towards the top, or they should at least. The Spitfire have shown that just because a team wins a championship, it does not mean that they automatically have the biggest fanbase. For reference, they are currently at 6. The Vancouver Titans are already considered by many to be the best team in the league. For their sake, they should hope that this translates into more fans.

Conclusion and Overall Rankings

The Overwatch League is still very new and some of the teams obviously have had a huge head start, as all of the new teams ranked below the originals. With that said, some of the new teams are starting to garner followings quickly and could catch some of the lower original teams. The hope is that they will all continue to grow. Especially considering that next season they will be playing in their hometowns.

Here are the overall rankings (Twitter, Reddit, Discord, Facebook & Instagram Combined):

  1. SFS- 266,493
  2. DAL- 265, 425
  3. HOU- 246,274
  4. SEO- 237,589
  5. NYXL- 218,195
  6. LON- 210,239
  7. LAV- 184,587
  8. LAG- 181,588
  9. PHL- 178,561
  10. BOS- 159,541
  11. SHA- 150,920
  12. FLM- 126,583
  13. ATL- 116,083
  14. HAN- 94,662
  15. PAR- 93,882
  16. VAN- 91,570
  17. TOR- 88,178
  18. CHN- 65,054
  19. WAS- 57,990
  20. GUA- 53,111

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(Numbers current as of 4/25/19)

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