Blizzard Reportedly Turning to Influencers to Boost Overwatch League Viewership

Blizzard has reportedly investigated an influencer-based viewership strategy
Blizzard has reportedly investigated an influencer-based viewership strategy /

Blizzard has investigated partnerships with organizations with access to streamers and influencers to improve Overwatch League viewership and attendance, according to a report published Wednesday by Richard Lewis. Among those in the conversation were Streamlabs and Stream Elements, two programs used by streamers to monetize their streams.

Per the report, individual streamers were approached with the opportunity to participate in the program. Those approached had to be "brand safe," and were preferably Overwatch-related and US-based.

These streamers would potentially have made live appearances at matches for meet-ups and received special overlays with live match results tickers.

When the campaign will start, if it will, remains unclear even to potentially participating streamers.

Dexerto's report states the partnerships were an attempt to stop the "bleeding viewership" of the Overwatch League and further incentivize attending live matches in the 2020 season following its increase in home games.

Blizzard has also begun using the Twitch bounty system whereby select streamers can earn additional revenue by playing certain games or sending their viewers to another channel.

According to a now-deleted Twitch clip of Team Liquid Fortnite player Ryan "Chap" Chaplo, the Overwatch League bounty required streamers who opted in to raid the Overwatch League channel while it was live — ending their own stream and automatically sending their viewers to the other channel.

Reporting by The Esports Observer states Overwatch League viewership has continued to decrease over the course of Season 2.

Update Aug. 8: Overwatch League PR provided the following statement Thursday.

"We deploy many communications and marketing tactics to grow our League, but we have not utilized the particular approach that is outlined in the piece. With that said, we constantly talk to various organizations that work with streamers and analytics around gaming and streaming, but have not made any official partnerships."

Overwatch League PR also shared the following statistics:

  • Final week of OWL Stage 3 had a global average minute audience (AMA) of 466,000, up 86% from Season 1's Stage 3 finals
  • Final week of Stage 2 AMA was 480,000 excluding China, a record high for the 2019 season.
  • Stage 2 finals on ABC had an AMA of over 500,000, making it the best performing esports broadcast ever across ESPN and ABC linear networks

Photo by Robert Paul/Blizzard