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Volume 27 No. 28
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Overwatch League Grand Finals Most-Watched Match Ever Globally

Overwatch League's Grand Finals earned a peak viewership on YouTube of 180,000 viewers and saw a global average viewership of 1.55 million -- up 38% from last year and good for the most watched OWL match ever. The Grand Finals took place on Saturday morning U.S. time in South Korea and saw the S.F. Shock repeat as champions after defeating the Seoul Dynasty. Average minute audience in China was 1.39 million via streaming platforms including Huya and Bilibili. Activision Blizzard did not release average minute audience for the U.S., but the event peaked around 115,000 on the main OWL channel on YouTube and also had a further 65,000 on related channels. This was the first year of OWL being shown on YouTube as part of Activision Blizzard’s three-year, $160M deal with the platform. Activision Blizzard said that last year’s Grand Finals on Twitch earned an average minute audience of 472,000 viewers in the U.S., which included 300,000 viewers on ABC, while this year's event was not on linear TV.

JOB WELL DONE: Completing the season was a feat in and of itself for OWL, which originally planned to kick off its home-game model around the world before the pandemic upended those plans. OWL switched to an online-only model for this year, and the Grand Finals were held in person, without fans, to mitigate latency issues. Activision Blizzard VP/Overwatch Esports Jon Spector in a statement saisd, “I’m so proud of the entire Overwatch League staff who worked incredibly hard to put on a great show for our fans. ... YouTube is a great partner for us and our viewership in Asia was massive as Grand Finals ran live in primetime for those audiences, which was great to see.”