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Volume 26 No. 229
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OWL Grand Finals See Big Viewership Jump On ABC, Twitch

The Overwatch League Grand Finals on Sept. 29 drew a total audience delivery (TAD) of 472,000 viewers in the U.S. across digital and linear platforms, a significant uptick from last year, according to Nielsen data released by the property. The second annual league championship -- won by the S.F. Shock before 12,000 fans at Wells Fargo Center -- aired in the U.S. digitally on Twitch and on TV via ABC. The league said the combined viewership for the U.S. was up 41% from last year, when the event at Barclays Center aired on ESPN and Disney XD. The TV-only figure was a 0.2 final rating and 300,000 viewers. The total U.S. TAD figure included 182,000 viewers in the 18-34 demo, which is up 13% from last year, while the global TAD viewership was 1.12 million, up 16% from ’18. Last year’s event aired in late July with the Finals spread out as a two-day event on Friday and Saturday instead of a one-day event on Sunday this year. The league has been pushing to release Nielsen-verified average-minute audience data in a bid to help sponsors, investors and media make fair comparisons between the esports property and traditional sports. The OWL in September released its regular-season data, which was a TAD of 95,000 viewers in the U.S. and 313,000 globally, up 34% and 18% from last year, respectively. The league’s media rights with both Twitch and ABC/ESPN are up for renewal after this year, and the OWL is currently immersed in talks with both the incumbent partners and new bidders.

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