The final matches leading up to the Stage 2 playoffs this past week saw a decline in Twitch views compared to last year's comparable week of Overwatch League matches.
The two matches on Thursday averaged 85,000 concurrent viewers on Twich, and the four matches on Friday saw an average of 104K viewers. Saturday and Sunday games reached 130K concurrents.
Thursday's average views were around 108K last year. Friday rocketed to 124K, and the final day before the Stage 2 playoffs last year saw 130K concurrent viewers.
Peak viewership was also significantly lower this year. This year's peak was 132K, while last year's peak was 161K concurrent viewers on Thursday. This year's peak was on Sunday, when the Hangzhou Spark defeated Seoul Dynasty 3-1, knkocking them out of the stage playoffs.
Still, the numbers between this year and last year only slightly vary. The OWL reached 3.26 million hours watched on the main Twitch channel last week, while last year's Week 5 games generated 3.28 million hours of live coverage consumed.
But what makes it peculiar is that there were more total matches this year. Six teams ended Stage 2 just one game outside the OWL's eight-team playoff. The league's four matches that went into a tiebreaking fifth game for the final weekend were lower than the five matches in 2018, despite there being just 12 best-of-five matches last year compared to this year's 14 matches over the weekend.
Twitch is the Overwatch League's main source of views during the live broadcasts, but these stats don't include viewers that tuned in on Facebook, other Twitch channels, or on television. Still, there are overall less views this year. But why?
It could be that the novelty of a new esport emerging drew inflated crowds in the League's inagural season. But with new Twitch Prime viewing features, and brand new teams, it's peculiar that the Overwatch League isn't maintaining its viewership or even seeing a steady increase in views.
Overwatch fans have speculated that the repetitive nature of the GOATS meta may make watching multiple matches per week a bit much. This could be especially true for more casual viewers.
Last year's Stage 2 playoffs peaked at 216K viewers on Overwatch League's main Twitch channel. This was the highest viewing for any single day since the league's opening week at the time, according to the Esports Observer.
While we can't predict this year's Stage 2 playoff views, the first two matches on May 9 should pique the community's interest. The Shanghai Dragons have made it to their first playoff, a huge improvement from their historic 0-42 record at the start of the season. They will be facing the San Francisco Shock, an undefeated team that has yet to drop a map this stage.
Later in the evening, the dynamic Hangzhou Spark will be taking on last season's grand finals champions from the London Spitfire.
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