The OWL 2020 season is four weeks in, and average viewership has shown a steady decline each week, according to Esports Charts.
OWL viewership numbers
For the 2020 opening weekend, OWL had an average of roughly 90,000 viewers. It’s not really a surprise that the OWL saw its highest average viewership in 2020 on its opening weekend. This has been the case in the past two seasons as well.
OWL average viewership dropped by roughly 8,000 in week two, then lost another 10,000 in week three, and another 4,000 in week four. The average viewership currently sits at 67,919 with 3,678,898 hours watched. The most popular match of the year was the Toronto Defiant vs the Paris Eternal in the first week with 138,576 viewers.
Possible reasons for the decline
The most plausible reason for the decline in average viewership is the OWL’s move from Twitch to YouTube. Aside from just moving off of the biggest streaming platform, YouTube doesn’t offer many of the features Twitch did, such as drops. Watching the OWL on Twitch gave players drops that they could use as in-game currency to purchase special OWL skins.
Another possible reason for the decline is simply that viewers know what to expect. The first couple of weeks are always fairly exciting, seeing which heroes get played, which strategies are used, and which teams look the strongest. Once this phase is over and viewers generally know what to expect, it becomes less exciting to watch. Perhaps the addition of Hero Pools to the game will increase viewership.
There is also the coronavirus to consider, as many OWL games have been canceled due to the outbreak. The 2019 champions, the San Francisco Shock, have only played one match. Chinese and Korean teams have yet to play a single one. These cancellations are surely not doing the league any favors when it comes to viewership.
It will be interesting to see what happens with viewership in the coming weeks. If YouTube is able to implement drops in the same way that Twitch did, they could see a boost in their viewership numbers. Hopefully, for OWL fans, their favorite esport sees more success once the coronavirus threat subsides as well.