Photo by: Blizzard
Vancouver Titans became Overwatch League Stage 1 champions and did it with an impressive record: a clean 10-0 season-long run.
This is an OWL-first record after a couple of teams came close only to miss it by a few inches in Season 1. In Stage 2 of last season, New York Excelsior won the title with a 10-1 record, dropping a series during the regular season. In Stage 3, Boston Uprising came even closer, finishing the group stage 10-0 and winning their semifinal match to lose to NYXL in the grand final for a final 11-1 score.
Although fans and pundits expected a one-sided grand final series as Vancouver ended up playing #6 seed San Francisco Shock, SF did give the all-Korean roster a very hard time. The series went to full seven games, with Vancouver winning the series 4-3 on Rialto.
For the core of former RunAway, now representing Vancouver Titans, this marks a 25-game winning streak, going back to July last year. Since then, they’ve won back-to-back Overwatch Contenders: Korea seasons and back-to-back NetEase Esports X events. Their OWL Stage 1 check of $200,000 is their biggest victory yet.
A great victory but underwhelming viewership
Despite the historic run of the Titans, viewership for OWL on Twitch was not high that day. According to Twitch Tracker, the grand finals stream averaged 130,000 concurrent viewers, peaking at 189,000 during the final moments of map 7. Stage 1 Finals of Season 1 last year pulled similar numbers: 126K average, 164K peak.
With these numbers, the OWL Stage 1 finals lost the race to other esports titles in a stacked weekend for the industry. The last day of NA LCS regular season peaked at 211K. CS:GO’s BLAST Pro Series Sao Paulo peaked at 296.8K, while Dota 2’s DreamLeague Major pulled a maximum of 419K viewers during its grand final.
Mar. 23-24 weekend peak viewership (w/o CN numbers)
— OWL Stage 1 finals: 189,097
— NA LCS Week 9, Day 2: 211,158
— BLAST Pro Series Sao Paulo: 296,806
— DreamLeague Major: 419,018
According to ESCharts, OWL Season 2, Stage 1 still pulled the best average numbers out of all OWL stages so far. Season 1 started strong in the first two stages but staggered in the tail end. Season 2 Stage 1’s 163K average is a significant increase from Season 1’s later stages. The question is whether this is a sustainable growth for the league or another peak based on the novelty factor.
OWL average viewership (w/o CN numbers)
— OWL Season 1, Stage 1: 137K
— OWL Season 1, Stage 2: 131K
— OWL Season 1, Stage 3: 115K
— OWL Season 1, Stage 4: 102K
— OWL Season 1 Playoffs: 128K
— OWL Season 2, Stage 1: 163K