Tournaments for the West’s Four Biggest Esports Games Generated 190.1 Million Hours of Live Viewership on Twitch and YouTube Gaming

The traditional sports industry has plenty of mega-events and finals that draw in huge crowds and viewership numbers, as well as sponsorship deals with some of the world’s biggest companies. And esports is no different. In fact, it’s bigger now than ever before. Based on live viewership across Twitch and YouTube Gaming in 2018 — measured using our Game Streaming Tracker — tournaments for the four biggest esports games were watched for an impressive 190.1 million hours.

These events were: the League of Legends World Championship Finals 2018; the ELEAGUE Major: Boston (CS:GO); The International 2018 (Dota 2); and the Overwatch League Finals. Excluding the OWL finals (which had its first edition this year), the viewership of these events grew by +6.9% year on year. Below, you can learn more about the top tournaments’ viewership and growth. We also used The Esports Observer’s database (TEO Professional) to dive into the endemic and non-endemic brands that benefited from the popularity of the events.

Please note that the tournaments listed here had the most viewership, per title, on Twitch and YouTube Gaming alone. This does not necessarily mean that they had the highest viewership overall, as other popular streaming platforms such as Facebook, VK, Douya, and Huya etc. are outside of the scope of this data.

Most Viewed on Twitch and YouTube Gaming: League of Legends World Championship Finals

Many brands, all partners of the LoL World Championship Finals 2018, benefited from the event’s massive viewership. Mastercard hosted a pop-up fan experience at the event “Mastercard Nexus”, which featured an opportunity for fans to try a shareable AR experience, play an exclusive game mode (Snowdown Showdown 1v1), meet pros and teams, and more. This is an example of a non-endemic brand catering to the esports community via engaging content. The company was also a presenting partner during the opening ceremony of the Grand Finals. Other non-endemic brand State Farm and endemic brands Acer and Maxnomic had spectator ad spots at the tournament.

Biggest Year-on-Year Viewership Growth: ELEAGUE Major: Boston

High Viewership and High Growth: The International 2018

Promising First Finals: Overwatch League Finals

Newzoo’s Game Streaming Tracker

Uniquely, games and channels are tagged according to their genres and publishers, while content is flagged as esports using machine-learning algorithms. Esports channels are then manually tagged and consist of channels that stream exclusively esports content. For YouTube, only the top 100 channels for each game within a given time are taken into account.

We built the tracker to provide users new to the space with immediate insights and context while giving experienced game-streaming experts the ability to drill down into granular insights.

Want to know more? Contact Fabrice Zaumseil,, to request a demo of our Game Streaming Tracker.



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