The Brief: How Overwatch League sold out the Barclays stadium, attracted over 300,000 live streamers, and gave away $1,000,000 in one of the largest eSports events ever.
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Overwatch has been a fast-moving phenomenon since its release in 2016, selling over forty-million copies and amassing a cult following. This year, the first-ever Overwater League Grand Finals had their winners, splitting a $1.4 million prize pool. The first grand champions of the Overwatch League, the London Spitfire, emerged victorious after a grueling, painstaking neck-in-neck battle with Philadelphia Fusion. But what exactly does all of that mean?
Overwatch League is run by Blizzard, the creators of Overwatch, as well as the massive MMORPG titan, World of Warcraft: it’s the largest gathering of cutthroat professional Overwatch players in the world. In their efforts to lock-down the massive traction behind Overwatch, the League was established, and as you know based on the coverage, it’s been doing its job.
How Big Was It?
Over 11,000 people gathered in Brooklyn, New York to line the seats, selling out the Barclays Center, which hasn’t been done by traditional sports in quite some time. In the two days that the event was hosted, over 22,000 total attended—the seats were completely packed, and it didn’t end there.
Attendance on Twitch marked 319,900 total viewers, and while it wasn’t as big as League’s opening day (441,200 viewers), it’s still a massive total following with room to grow. Each team is city-specific and sponsored by big money. While they didn’t attend, the Boston Uprising team is owned by Jonathan Kraft, the same owner of the New England Patriots. There’s a long-term stake in esports, and OWL’s first-ever grand finals marks the beginning of a greater interest from both the public, and commercial players. Both ESPN and Disney XD showcased this live event.
Who Was There?
DJ Khaled performed before the first match on Saturday, but he wasn’t the only face there. The likes of Bon Jovi, Owen Wilson, and Xavier Woods also made appearances as attendees to the event. On top of that, you’ve had immense support from various parts of the entertainment and business industry, including Shaq, Jennifer Lopez, and Comcast call getting involved.