This past weekend saw not only the FIFA 18 Champions Cup take place in Barcelona, the first event in the FIFA 18 Global Series competition going on throughout the year, but also DreamHack Leipzig, the final for the Eleague Major in Boston, Evo Japan's finals, and the finals of the ESL One Dota 2 event in Genting Malaysia. While some might have expected FIFA's tournament to be pretty drowned out with all this competition, a new report from The Esports Observer actually suggests that the event was a really good start to the year for the Global Series.
The tournament took place between Friday and Sunday in the Spanish city, and during that time 2.1 million hours of the competition was watched on Twitch, which is even more impressive if you consider that this is almost triple the 788,000 hours that was watched on the channel last year. This was helped not only by the fact FIFA's esports has grown in the last year as part of this new Global Series (leading up to the big eWorld Cup competition later this year), but also that by linking their Ultimate Team accounts players could earn rewards just by tuning in.
As The Esports Observer points out, by doing this and promoting this offer EA are appealing to the casuals as well as the esports fans, and it seems to have worked very well, with the hope no doubt being that a lot of these fans will stick around and tune into esports events in future as part of long-term growth. With viewers tuning in for an average of over an hour, this also marks an 184% increase compared to 2017's 22-minute average, and could well indicate that this tactic is paying off.
It'll be interesting to see whether the next Champions Cup in April has similar figures and whether EA will deploy the same tactics to get viewers on board, and this should be an indicator of whether FIFA can keep growing in terms of viewership as an esport. Do you think that players were only tuning in for the rewards?