The inaugural season of the Overwatch League kicked off last week with four days of exciting competition. Featuring the best players in the world and instantly-classic matchups like the “Best in the West” Dallas Fuel versus the “Best in the World” Seoul Dynasty, it was more than fans could have hoped for in the year and a half leading up to the league debut. Apparently, it was more than Blizzard—and their partners, Twitch and MLG—could have hoped for as well. According to a press release and reported widely, total viewership over the first week exceeded a whopping 10 million.
This figure is easily corroborated by heading to the Overwatch League Twitch channel, which has a current total viewer count of 10,741,148. However, tuning in during the live stream shows the other, potentially more impressive figure: that the number of concurrent viewers averaged 280,000, and hit over 400,000 on day one. Where it really gets out of control, however, is that those numbers don’t even include the Chinese streams.
A deep dive into the full viewer statistics shows that, with Chinese streaming services like PandaTV included, average concurrent viewership for the week was an absolutely gobsmacking 672,000 viewers. This involves an alleged peak of over 1.2 million viewers at once for the region, giving a worldwide peak of over 1.6 million. For comparison, that’s more people than watched Thursday Night Football in its first week of 2016.
Last week brought a more successful start than anyone could have foreseen, and it was just the beginning. Week 2 of the Overwatch League continues today, January 17, at 4 PM.