Esports is a growing force in the entertainment sector slowly catching the eye of traditional sports fans. League of Legends, Dota, and CS:GO have dominated the esports viewership for years and in 2019 Overwatch made its own impact.
According to Esports Charts, the Overwatch League was the most-watched esports league in 2019 with 75.9 million hours watched. The second most-watched league was League of Legends Champion Korea with 71.1 million hours watched. The Overwatch League's initial year was a success but their second season during 2019 is where they made the most strides. The addition of eight new teams and homestand events where teams competed on their home turf enriched the experience that fans had with the League. While Overwatch was not the most viewed game in 2019, it did have a unifying metric for its relatively new esports scene.
The Overwatch League has a few advantages over the other leagues shown in the chart that may skew how you view the results. The first, is that the Overwatch League hosts teams from around the world regardless of region to compete on the same stage. League of Legends esports is broken up into multiple leagues based on region, with the League of Legends Champion Korea (LCK), the League of Legends European Championship (LEC), and the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) being the most popular. CS:GO has the Pro League, but like Dota focuses more on competitions like Majors and Dreamhack events than structured leagues.
Overwatch and Call of Duty in 2020
Esports is still a very new form of competitive entertainment and while CS:GO and Dota have been around for a while, newer esports such as Overwatch and Call of Duty are opting for more structured competitive events in the form of a franchised league. This change will come with its own challenges as we have already seen multiple casters, analysts and staff leave the Overwatch League due to strenuous travel schedules. The Call of Duty League (CDL) has made cutbacks to the number of matches teams will play in hopes to reduce travel fatigue.
The Overwatch League begins again on February 8th in New York City, New York and Dallas, Texas. Tickets are available to all of the homestand events and fans can tune in from the Overwatch League's Twitch channel each Saturday and Sunday, a cutback from the previous seasons' four day competition weeks.
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