Will Esports Continue to Grow for Activision Blizzard? – The Motley Fool

Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) recently released viewership numbers for the Grand Finals of Overwatch League’s third season. The global average minute audience showed strong growth year over year, making this year’s Grand Finals between the San Francisco Shock and Seoul Dynasty the most-watched match ever for Overwatch League. 

Esports is one of the fastest-growing markets within the video game industry. Despite the cancellation of live in-person events during the pandemic, esports is still driving growth in Activision Blizzard’s “other” segment, which includes revenue from Overwatch League and Call of Duty League. Although growth could be more difficult to come by going forward, Activision Blizzard remains focused on the long-term prize.

A crowd watching an esports event in an arena.

The 2018 Overwatch League Grand Finals. Image source: Activision Blizzard.

Viewership doesn’t tell the whole story

The Grand Finals held on Oct. 10, 2020, saw an increase in global average minute audience of 38% year over year, reaching 1.55 million. Average minute audience (AMA) measures the number of people watching at any minute during the broadcast. 

Blizzard spotlighted viewership results in China, which spiked 260% year over year. The data includes live plus 24-hour broadcast viewership. The actual number of people who watched the match are likely more than reported since the data doesn’t include those who watch later by video on demand. 

Nonetheless, the numbers are not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison with viewership from 2019. Last year, Blizzard reported a 16% year-over-year increase in global AMA for the
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