The Overwatch League reached 10 million unique viewers across all platforms and an average of 280,000 viewers per minute on Twitch and MLG during its opening week, Blizzard announced on Wednesday.
The league's opening day, Jan. 10, saw the most significant web traffic of the four-day event. The peak concurrent viewer count was 437,000 on Twitch and MLG alone during a match between the Dallas Fuel and the Seoul Dynasty -- formerly Team EnVyUs and Lunatic-Hai, respectively. Blizzard said that opening day saw an average of 408,000 viewers per minute on Twitch and MLG, which is more than Amazon's first livestream of Thursday Night Football at 372,000 viewers per 30 seconds in September and Twitter's inaugural Thursday Night Football event in 2016, which boasted an average of 243,000 viewers per minute.
The league was broadcasted in four different languages, English, Chinese, Korean and French, on six different platforms: Twitch, MLG, ZhanQi TV, NetEase CC, Panda TV and its own Overwatch League website. Historically, China is the largest consumer of esports broadcasts in other games such as League of Legends, Dota 2 and others, but Blizzard did not disclose a breakdown of individual regions.
"We're thrilled by the overwhelming response to the Overwatch League's opening week of play," MLG CEO and president Pete Vlastelica, a former executive vice president of Fox Sports, said in a press release. "But this is only the beginning. With more than 35 million Overwatch players, the Overwatch League has the potential to become one of the most-watched leagues-of any kind-in the world."
Blizzard signed a reported two-year, $90 million deal with Twitch last week, that saw the world's largest livestreaming platform gain exclusive rights to all games in English, Korean and French. Blizzard did not comment on the monetary numbers of the deal.
The Overwatch League will continue its regular season in Los Angeles through June 16 for its first season, prior to advancing to playoffs in July. Games occur Wednesday through Saturday featuring three matches per day.
The league -- which identifies franchises based on geography, similar to that of the NFL, NBA, MLS and MLB -- was founded in 2017 by game developer Activision Blizzard. It then recruited 12 owners from traditional sports, other existing esports titles and technology sectors, each who paid $20 million in a franchise fee. Owners in the league include New England Patriots' parent company the Kraft Group, New York Mets sister company Sterling.VC and Los Angeles Rams and Denver Nuggets owner Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.