The Overwatch League debut last week garnered more views than the start of the North American League of Legends Championship Series this weekend.
Approximately 350,000 concurrent viewers tuned in to watch Saturday’s NA LCS opener between Team Liquid and Team SoloMid across multiple streams on Twitch and YouTube. Last week, around 425,000 concurrent viewers watched the Los Angeles Valiant sweep the San Francisco Shock in the opening match of the inaugural OWL season.
Of course, context matters. The LCS had more competition this weekend than OWL had last week with Counter-Strike’s ELEAGUE Major airing alongside the OWL, sapping potential LCS viewers. Plus the LCS has long lost it’s novelty, entering its sixth year, while the OWL is brand new. And even then, today’s LCS viewership topped the OWL’s numbers, which hovered around 110,000 to 140,000 viewers all day.
But making the comparison is inevitable, and a solid barometer for measuring the OWL’s success. The OWL and NA LCS are esports’ two franchised leagues, featuring similar models and massive investments behind them. While the OWL is still in a honeymoon period, the viewership so far has shown that the league can provide a quality product that can compete with the best esports has to offer.
The more important metric will be how viewership develops over the course of the OWL’s long 40-game season. But so far, so good.