• Sam Osburn

Fortnite World Cup Debuts with Huge Viewership Numbers

By Sam Osburn

Of the $100 million Epic Games committed to the nascent Fortnite esports scene for 2019, a whopping $30 million was allocated to the year’s biggest event—the inaugural Fortnite World Cup, which took place in Queens, NY, from July 26th-28th.

The event not only sold out Arthur Ashe Stadium, but made a huge impact across streaming channels as well. NPD estimates that, on the event’s final day, concurrent viewers for the game peaked at nearly 1.3 MM during the solo tournament finals. And viewership wasn’t just concentrated on the World Cup’s final day—viewership peaked above 1 MM on the 27th as well, and the average peak for the event’s three days was 971K. This represents a 355% increase over average daily peak viewership during the 3 weeks preceding the World Cup, but how does it compare to Twitch viewership numbers driven by other major esports events over the past year?

  • Across six days of Main Event competition during the Dota 2 International in August 2018, average daily peak viewership was 617K and an overall peak of 752K was achieved during the Grand Finals.

  • The five days of Knockout Stage competition at League of Legends Worlds 2018 generated an average daily peak of 845K viewers, with more than 1.1 MM watching concurrently during the Finals.

  • The sum of viewership peaks for all nine games played at EVO 2019, the year’s biggest fighting game tournament, exceeded 1.1 MM, with single-game viewership peaking at 272K for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Summing peaks in this way inevitably double-counts some viewers, so this is a generous look at peak viewership across EVO’s tournaments.

Twitch viewership alone understates the footprint of major events like these, with a number of viewers tuning in via other channels, and Fortnite WC is no exception. Factoring in live viewership numbers on YouTube and other platforms, its peak exceeded 2.3 MM, but the event could also be viewed within Fortnite itself—and the impact of that is likely unknown to anyone outside of Epic. If one factors in Chinese viewership, League of Legends Worlds still leads the pack by a wide margin, but it’s clear that Fortnite’s premier competitions have the potential to be massive moving forward. And while the return on Epic’s investment will remain unclear in the short term, seeding Fortnite’s esports scene with nine figure prize pools in 2018 and 2019 has no doubt given it a chance to establish itself as one of the world’s top competitive games.



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