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Volume 25 No. 175

Esports

Twitch has granted Nielsen access to its 50,000-viewer research panel for the first time, allowing the audience measurement firm to connect actual viewing habits of esports fans to their survey responses. Parts of the study will be published by Nielsen today, but other findings will be folded into research products sold to clients asking for more detail on the audience for particular esports or gaming personalities on the Amazon-owned site. “There’re certainly lots of findings about the data, but to me the bigger story around this is that we’re starting to get a peek into who is on Twitch, and what the audience looks like,” said Neilsen Esports Managing Dir Nicole Pike. Twitch has made its Twitch Research Power Group available to individual agencies before, but has never allowed a research firm access. By matching up the survey responses to actual Twitch viewers, Nielsen can tell clients which esport draws the longest viewing times for fans, and what other entertainment and brands enjoy the loyalty of viewers of particular teams, or games. Those are questions routinely asked by brands considering deals in traditional sports, Pike said. Twitch Senior Manager of Audience Insights Colan Neese said his company decided to work with Nielsen because it is a "reputable brand." Neese: "The methodologies applied by other companies rarely capture people who actually watch esports, let alone the Twitch viewer. We saw this as a good opportunity to ensure there was accurate data around this important part of the gamer ecosystem."

For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.

Overwatch League teams will foot most of the bill for hosting the games next season
Photo: ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

The Overwatch League's decision to host games in Dallas and Atlanta during the '19 season is a "bellwether for the league as it tries to determine whether such a move is financially viable and how to optimally structure a league with city-based teams," according to Noah Smith of the WASHINGTON POST. The league has previously "stated the goal of moving fully into local markets" by the '20 season, though it has not "fully committed to that timeline." Team Envy Owner & CEO Mike Rufail said that his Dallas Fuel squad "felt confident in hosting" the weekend homestand next year after "strong fan turnout to another team-hosted game watch party in Dallas last March." A source said that the team "went so far as to use Allen Event Center over the newly opened Esports Stadium" in Arlington because of the "higher seating capacity." But sources also said that some OWL team owners "expressed concerns about failing to attract large enough crowds and losing money." Rufail confirmed that teams are “footing most of the bill.” He added that he is "comfortable with the financial risk since he sees the Dallas event as an investment in his home market by bringing exposure to the product he is putting on the screen." Washington Justice Owner Mark Ein, whose franchise will join the league next season, said that he "did not believe there was any hesitation from owners when it came to these weekends" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/13).

For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.