The Overwatch League is hemorrhaging viewers and sponsors
The Overwatch League 2021 Season has been a success in terms of revitalizing the gameplay, but outside of the actual matches, things have gone from bad to worse.
The League initially saw a jump with the new tournament format, but viewing figures have suffered since. Players were already asking if Overwatch is dying. This week the League got what might be its worst news to date, with two major sponsors looking at dropping out already. If things continue to escalate, it could mean serious problems for the League.
The Overwatch League Viewing Figures
Viewing figures and attendance numbers are pretty vital for the health of an esport, and the Overwatch League has had some ups and downs this year. Initially, the new League format seemed to have gotten fans back excited for the game.
This has dropped though.
The last event, the Summer Showdown, was considerably weaker. It saw a drop of 27.6% compared to the May Melee for total hours watched, although that’s only a 2.95% drop from the June Joust. While this is disappointing, the middle of a season is typically the quietest. It is possible that the Overwatch League will recover some viewership for the final leg of the 2021 Season. However, these drops don’t look particularly healthy.
Esports Charts came out with a nice graphic showcasing the dip.
When taken along with player retirements, it does look like the Overwatch League is dwindling before the sequel. It hasn’t actually been around all that long, just 4 Seasons, which is a pretty quick life cycle.
Overwatch League Loses Sponsors
In light of all of the revelations about the state of affairs at Activision Blizzard, things have looked better for their games. The Overwatch League has begun to lose sponsors, with State Farm and Coca-Cola looking into dropping the League. If these two pull it, it probably won’t be the last. Anyone who watched an Overwatch League stream will know how saturated they are in these ads. Losing them would probably be a big hit.
State Farm stated in a WP question response: “ We are reevaluating our limited marketing relationship with the Overwatch League.”
These dropping sponsors are almost definitely coming from a PR standpoint to address the unethical and criminal behavior going on at Activision Blizzard. It is likely that associated brands will also pull their sponsorship from other games from the publisher. Which thanks to the Blizzard Activision merger is a good portion of gaming, including Call of Duty.
This is being done for moral reasons, which complicates things for any sponsors that remain. This could well cause a cascading effect. If they don’t also drop out, it looks like an endorsement of what’s been happening. Usually, in these situations, dropouts will be followed by more dropouts. That’s why it is likely that we’ll see the Overwatch League hemorrhage sponsorships if these two go ahead with dropping the League.
Overwatch League Dying Again?
A lot of long-term players have already been wondering about the long-term health of Overwatch. Major players are retiring, big content updates are a thing of the past, and the previous director of the games has recently left the series under mysterious circumstances. (Although revelations about the culture at Blizzard may go some way to explaining, that one way or the other.) Overwatch is now losing viewers at a dramatic pace along with sponsors.
If this continues, will we eventually see the Overwatch League being dropped entirely? It’s possible. The game may end up in a state of stasis until the situation at its developer is resolved. If that happens, then it’ll probably have to wait until the sequel finally comes out to recapture public attention.
The answer to our constantly asked “Is Overwatch dying?“, might soon become a YES.