Twitch viewership jumps as COVID-19 keeps people at home

Twitch saw a 14 percent jump in viewership last week year-over-year—even as esports leagues remain suspended.

Image via Twitch

With the spread of COVID-19 scaring many people across the world, and ultimately eliciting a state of emergency in America, viewership for personalities on Twitch has seen a jump, according to Stream Hatchet data. 

While the platform has seen its year-over-year hours watched totals improve each month since November, the figure spiked even further in February with the platform seeing almost 10% more hours watched this February vs. 2019. 

Those figures have only become more prominent in the past two weeks. Twitch’s viewership of 239 million this past week was driven by 9.37 million hours of airtime despite the cancellation of many esports that rely on in-person events. Those figures are up 14 percent from 209 million hours watched that the platform got from March 11 to 17 in 2019. 

Though esports held a prominent influence in viewership this time last year, content creators are driving the platform this year. In the same period last year, Riot Games, the Overwatch League, and Dream Hack all had channels in the top 10. This year, influencers make up a far more substantial amount of the platforms viewership with Call of Duty streamers leading the way. 

Outside of Beyond The Summit and the Rocket League channel, the top 10 most-watched channels were content creators, led by Summit1g’s 3.3 million hours watched. Coincidentally, Summit also led Twitch at this time last year with 3.1 million hours watched, but at that time he was leading a surge of Grand Theft Auto role play streamers. 

The boost in viewership on Twitch comes despite the loss of 2.6 million hours watched that Riot Games provided in 2019 and 2.1 million hours watched the OWL recorded last year.

As people refrain from traveling or going to social events—and as traditional sports remain on lockdown—it’s clear a lot of people are turning to Twitch for entertainment.