The future of local eSports viewership

Date: 7th Sep, 16

It’s been roughly a month since CSGO and Dota 2 Lounge closed their doors on cosmetic gambling. The time between their end of operations and now has been interesting when monitoring the viewership of major tournaments in both Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. 

Of the two major titles, CS:GO has been hit the hardest hit by the end of cosmetic gambling. DOTA 2 has always had a sturdy organic audience with a fairly noticeable influence from the Lounge while on the other hand, CS:GO benefited massively from the gambling culture closely tied with the eSport. It was, unfortunately, the gambling on CS:GO which inevitably forced Valve’s hand, and that has been arguably the major reason for the current 51% drop in viewership over August.

The local rise

With international viewership dropping, what does this mean for our local competitions which also benefited largely from the Lounges? Well, this is a bit of double-edged sword. While the exposure and reach were fantastic, we could never really put a definitive number on our local audience. Poorly advertised competition streams would sometimes vary between 30-60 viewers, while a well-promoted stream could easily top the hundreds. Many tournament hosts were unsure as to what local reach we would achieve moving forward, but it seems we’re not doing too bad.

For example, this past weekend’s Evetech Champions League had a concurrent viewership of over 200 viewers, with the number increasingly significantly during big matches. The most notable jump was during the Grand Final, between Bravado Gaming and Aperture Gaming, which brought in over 900 viewers.

This is a fantastic metric to showcase when considering the growing interest in competitive eSports, especially in South Africa. With a number of large tournaments left for the year, it’s clear that viewership is on the rise and finally, without the aid of external exposure, we can put a number on local growth.

by Kyle Wolmarans