Last weekend, from May 22 to May 24, the Overwatch League hosted the first ever May Melee Tournament. In the weeks leading up to this three-day brawl, all 20 teams were invited to bring their best as they climbed the ranks for success. In the end, only two victors would walk away as champions. However, it seems the community, and the fans, of the League were the true winners of this spectacular display.
With one of the best matches in Overwatch League history setting the stage (the Shanghai Dragons, reigning stage champions, reverse sweeping the Seoul Dynasty in a 4-3 battle for the ages), as well as a single elimination pattern that put the best of the best against each other, the Overwatch League hit new highs on the back of the May Melee Tournament.
How Viewership Hit Highs
Statistically, the May Melee tournament drew a massive crowd. Viewer metrics are measured using the average audience minute. Referred to as AMA, the average audience minute measures the average number of people watching a broadcast at any minute during the broadcast, calculated by the total minutes watched, divided by total minutes broadcast.
In total, the AMA viewers increased from 31k in Week 15, to 63k AMA. That’s double the average view time. This is the second highest viewership to date, toppled only by the League’s Week 2 broadcast of NA matches, with a live AMA of 74k.
The reason such an interest was gained could be chalked up to plenty of notions. However, the League knows when they’ve done something good. This tournament style format is something fans have been anticipating since the Grand Finals of last year. With an additional increase in viewership due to the long awaited returns of Token Drops on the Overwatch League website, fans from around the world were able to earn rewards for simply tuning in and watching these showstopping matches live.
Regional Success Around The World
The Overwatch League is currently operating two separate regions: the Asian region and the North American region. Because of this, viewership around the world has also seen a great increase. Asian matches hit a high of 52k AMA, up exponentially from 23k AMA the previous weekend. Its peak hit during the heart-stopping, seven map marathon between the Seoul Dynasty and the Shanghai Dragons. With 77k AMA tuning in for the best game of Overwatch this year, viewers were treated with non-stop thrills.
The North American region is no different. During the final match between the Florida Mayhem and the reigning champions, the San Francisco Shock, viewers hit 88k AMA. In another six map slugfest between a rookie underdog team and a squad protecting their crown, fans were rewarded with nothing less than spectacular play and production from the League.
Looking Forward To June
Overwatch League Vice President Jon Spector tweeted on May 27 about the League’s future with tournament style matches for the future. “We’re excited to share more details early next week on how we build from here,” he stated, further adding, “including the schedule for the next tournament and broad structure the rest of our 2020 season!”
Excited to see fans couldn’t get enough of the Overwatch League “May Melee” tournament this past weekend. Viewership doubled from week 15, as the competition was fierce and fans stayed engaged every step of the way. #OWL2020 pic.twitter.com/4rBjVFf4HA
— Activision Blizzard (@ATVI_AB) May 28, 2020
Pete Vlastelica, President and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports, also noted how hard the League has worked to provide matches during these difficult times. “We’re really excited about how the May Melee turned out, and I’m proud of everyone involved for achieving this in a season that never stopped operating during Covid-19,” Pete explained.
“As a league, we have worked hard with our partner YouTube to improve the live esports viewing experience for our fans, making the necessary changes to meet the demands of fans and players alike with the return of viewership rewards and dynamic tournament scheduling.”
The Road Ahead
The Overwatch League community can look forward to more displays like this from the League, as well as more information about the June schedule early next week, as Jon stated. With how successful the May Melee Tournament was, there’s no doubt that more events like this are in the works. Keep eyes on The Game Haus for all information regarding the 2020 Overwatch League season. Additionally, make sure to tune into the Overwatch League website on June 13, when games are scheduled to resume.
Viewership sources are pulled directly from YouTube Analytics for each of the Overwatch League channels, verified by Nielsen.
Chinese viewership sources are pulled from Huya, Bilibili, and NetEase CC platforms. They are verified by the ABE China Analytics team.
Featured Image Courtesy of the Overwatch League Twitter.
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