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The Overwatch League has been struggling to maintain viewership for a while and many fans have blamed the decision to stream exclusively on YouTube instead of Twitch for the majority of this issue. Twitch is where most major esports are streamed due to it having more interaction opportunities and more viewers in general. So what’s going on? Is the OWL in trouble?

How Many People Watch the Overwatch League?

According to Esports Charts, the peak viewership for the recent Pro-Am tournament was 34K viewers. To put this into perspective, the Call of Duty League 2023: Stage 3 Major had 175K average viewers and VCT 2023: LOCK//IN São Paulo had a peak viewership of 1.44 million fans and an average of 435K viewers.

So… Yeah, the Overwatch League is not doing too hot.

With Week 1 of the Overwatch League Spring Stage Qualifiers West starting in a week, Overwatch fans are wondering if the viewership will improve at all. And it looks like it might not if we’re going off of past trends and the decision to stay on YouTube.

Overwatch League Growth Charts

Year over year comparison of Overwatch League

Why Is Overwatch League on YouTube Again?

Statistics show that the Overwatch League continues to lose viewership every year.

Fans believe this is due to the loss of the hometown spirit part of the franchise, with most teams moving to South Korea or dropping rosters from their own city in favor of international players. Others feel that the loss of iconic players has left it feeling stale. The hype is just not there.

Some fans feel that Overwatch 2 is just hard to follow compared to League of Legends, VALORANT, and Street Fighter. The gameplay can feel a bit chaotic and it’s hard to just jump in and start enjoying an Overwatch League match unless you have a deep understanding of the game beforehand.

But one of the biggest complaints is with how Blizzard has handled the franchise in general. And one of their biggest controversies is picking YouTube as the platform time and time again despite significant viewership decline.

So why are they doing this?

According to Overwatch League caster Mitch "Uber" Leslie, the “extra viewership” on Twitch “won’t help” the esport at all. The outspoken caster took to Discord to claim that Twitch “doesn’t give a s—” about the Overwatch League.

The statement created a huge discussion on Reddit, with many arguing over where the Overwatch League should stream.

“The league didn’t tell me much at a business level but I’ve managed to glean plenty of insights. And if you know me, then you know I’m not really interested in selling their propaganda to people and have called Overwatch League out on their bulls— multiple times before because I have the cushion of six years of work with them to fall back on,” Uber explained. “I’d like to keep using that privilege to speak to what I think is the truth in this situation, too.”

For now, it’s not fair to say that the Overwatch League is dying. There is still a loyal and solid fanbase and Overwatch 2 itself is a very popular game. But only time will tell what can be done to improve the viewership of the esport and create a more unique experience for fans now that the hometown appeal is gone.