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Overwatch League viewership increases due to tournament model

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The Overwatch League is finally understanding that high stakes equal high viewership.

Live viewership on YouTube has seen a marked increase since the Overwatch League’s move to monthly tournaments, according to statistics provided by the league’s public relations. Last weekend’s Summer Showdown tournament delivered several increases and high numbers, proving the tournament model is one that fans will tune in for. 

Overall, the live “average minute audience” (AMA) for the Summer Showdown tournament weekend, or week 22 of the league, was 54,000, which is a five-percent increase from the previous weekend. Week 21 even included a double token promotion for viewers and the bracket weekend still topped those numbers. 

The weekend’s peak viewership happened during the semifinals match between the San Francisco Shock, the May Melee champions, and the Paris Eternal. This was the highest peak viewership on YouTube since the Overwatch League’s move to online-only play and was only overshadowed by opening weekend games in early February. The Overwatch League didn’t provide a specific number for this peak viewership count, however.

This overall uptick can be attributed to the excitement of the tournament model and the Summer Showdown in particular. The weekend began with unlikely upsets against top teams, which raised interest in the tournament as a whole. By the time the San Francisco Shock faced the Paris Eternal in the semifinals, the Shock were expected to take the entire tournament. Paris ended up defeating them, facing the Philadelphia Fusion in a tense grand finals match that led to an Eternal victory. 

“Even in a world where seemingly everything about broadcasting matches has shifted, the constant we’ve heard from our fans is that they want matches that are exciting and have high stakes,” said Jonathan Stringfield, vice president of measurement and insights for Activision Blizzard Esports. “The tournament structure that the team has put in place is clearly meeting that need and is reflected in recent viewership performance.” 

YouTube viewership for matches in the Asia bracket, however, is maintaining a plateau. While North American viewership jumped to 61,000 AMA, Asia held steady at 48,000 AMA. The Overwatch League is still calculating Chinese viewership, which is mostly on sites like BiliBili. 

Considering these numbers, it’s no surprise that the Overwatch League is continuing the tournament model in 2020 and possibly beyond. Jon Spector, the vice president of the Overwatch League, mentioned the possibility of tournaments continuing in 2021 in a recent Twitter post. “Ultimately, we want to find a way to blend the excitement of homestands around the world with the monthly tournament structure we’ve developed for online matches,” Spector said. 

The Overwatch League is taking a break this weekend but will be back on July 17 with the Countdown Cup, the final tournament of the 2020 regular season. 

Source: https://dotesports.com/overwatch/news/overwatch-league-viewership-increases-due-to-tournament-model

Esports

erkaSt joins NG

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NG continue to add to their international roster with the signing of another high-profile player in the Asian scene, Erdenetsogt “⁠erkaSt⁠” Gantulga, bringing the player count in the starting lineup up to four, each one of them from a different country.

Now a household name in Asia, erkaSt first made a name for himself in Oceania, where he was part of the Grayhound squad that played at IEM Sydney in 2018 and 2019, made two ESL Pro League Finals and competed at the IEM Katowice 2019 and StarLadder Berlin Major’s New Challengers Stages.

erkaSt will play under the NG banner from now on

The Mongolian player then had to return to his home country after not being able to secure a work visa in Australia following the StarLadder Major, where he achieved moderate success with TIGER, winning the first Regional Major Ranking tournament, the Weibo Cup Asian Championship and making the final of the latest RMR tournament, Perfect World Asia League Fall.

Since returning to Mongolia erkaSt has accrued a 1.15 rating and has had strong performances at all of the RMR tournaments with a 1.20 rating at ESL One: Road to Rio Asia as well as 1.19 and 1.14 ratings at the PAL Summer and Fall events, respectively.

“For the past year since Grayhound, I’ve been playing with and giving my experiences to my fellow Mongolians and the community there as a player”, erkaSt says, “but from today onward, I’m very excited to call NG a new home and really looking forward to play with my new teammates and the journey ahead of us. Thank you for all your support and especially NG for giving me this opportunity!”

NG are now:

Singapore Anthony “⁠ImpressioN⁠” Lim
Korea Hyun-Pyo “⁠XigN⁠” Lee
Thailand Thotsaphon “⁠cbbk⁠” Suphatthanaphalaphon
Mongolia Erdenetsogt “⁠erkaSt⁠” Gantulga

Source: https://www.hltv.org/news/30540/erkast-joins-ng

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Video: TeSeS vs. Vitality

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Action situation #1
Heroic up 6-5 (Mirage)
Action situation #2
First pistol round (Nuke)

France
Denmark

You can find the rest of HLTV.org’s videos by going to our YouTube channel here.

Source: https://www.hltv.org/news/30534/video-teses-vs-vitality

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XTQZZZ on Vitality’s six-man roster: “We’re going to make substitutions mid-series depending on the map”

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Vitality coach Rémy “⁠XTQZZZ⁠” Quoniam has revealed that Nabil “⁠Nivera⁠” Benrlitom will start practising with the team this week as part of a rotation system that will be employed moving forward. The 19-year-old is expected to make his debut in the BLAST Premier Final Series — the perfect proving ground for the former Heretics player as the team are already qualified for the BLAST Global Finals.

“The team will make substitutions mid-series depending on the map,” XTQZZZ wrote in a Twitlonger post. “It will allow some players to rest on training days (very few until the end of the year), to rotate, to be able to make decisions and to remain as competitive as possible.”

XTQZZZ says players will rotate to avoid burnout

XTQZZZ gives three reasons for the expansion of Vitality‘s roster, starting with the congested fixture schedule in Counter-Strike. “We have had a much higher number of tournaments, matches and weeks over the years,” he said. “This is essentially related to business, where we’re looking for a profitability that does not currently exist.”

The second reason he gave is the team’s struggle to perform consistently in a packed schedule while facing constant pressure to obtain results. This, according to him, affects “preparation ahead of intense matches”.

The French coach also talked about mental health and burnout, a hot topic as several players have requested medical leaves this year due to the heavy workload. “These problems are essentially created by a loss of balance, a loss of fulfilment, a loss in the professional life and a loss of pleasure,” he explained. “We must pay attention to each one of our players.”

Regarding the addition of Nivera to the roster and the effect that it will have on the group, XTQZZZ insisted that the Belgian player will not be claiming anyone’s spot in the starting lineup. “Vitality’s objective is to continue training young talents while keeping the experience of our legends. Nabil doesn’t come to bench anyone.”

The French coach also shared his thoughts about jumping into uncharted territory, saying that Vitality will “give the project a certain amount of time to see if it can be effective, well-received and beneficial.”

“We will try to adapt to the system in the short/medium term,” he added. “In six months it may be different or perhaps even more complicated, but none of us can predict the future with the current situation.”

Source: https://www.hltv.org/news/30538/xtqzzz-on-vitalitys-six-man-roster-were-going-to-make-substitutions-mid-series-depending-on-the-map

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