Twitch is a major partner in the Overwatch League, having reportedly shelled out $90 million to buy the exclusive rights to stream Overwatch League matches. While the new eSports initiative already seems to be a hit with fans, new data reveals exactly how much the streaming partnership is paying off for both Twitch, Blizzard, and the Overwatch League teams themselves.
In last night’s broadcast of Overwatch League matches, it seems that viewers spent an incredible amount of money on Twitch Bits. Twitch’s Cheering With Bits feature launched on February 21, right as the second stage of the inaugural Overwatch League season began, and it allowed fans to spend Bits to cheer for their favorite Overwatch League teams and players.
As of the time of writing, 14,978,587 Bits have been spent with an estimated $0.014 Bit conversion rate. Not including Bits purchased in bulk or earned from watching ads, Twitch has made over $200,000 so far. The Dallas Fuel received the most Bits, and currently sits at 2,559,657 Bits according to the Overwatch League Twitch page. Dallas Fuel was the first Overwatch League team to pass the 1 million Bits milestone and has earned over $35,000 in bits, though Twitch’s FAQs suggest that the team won’t receive a direct cut and the money will benefit Twitch, Blizzard, and the teams/players overall.
The Overwatch League teams will undoubtedly be thrilled by the show of support, but it should be noted that fans aren’t just spending Bits in an effort to pledge their allegiance to a particular team or player. There are also community goals and exclusive Overwatch League related unlocks once viewers as a whole reach certain milestones – the first milestone unlocks an exclusive Overwatch League skin for Tracer once 40 million Bits have been spent. Viewers also get exclusive Twitch team emotes for every 150 Bits they spend and Twitch hero emotes for every 100 Bits they spend.
Additionally, many viewers may also be tuning in for the promise of free Overwatch League Tokens. Twitch and Blizzard have just announced that players will receive a Token for every live map that they watch and these Tokens can, in turn, be traded in for skins. While Twitch and Blizzard would prefer if viewers just wanted to watch because they felt like it, the companies will be glad to know that their efforts of sweetening the pot have gone down exceptionally well.
The Overwatch League is still in its infancy but these are all good signs of where the esports initiative is heading. After it drew millions of viewers during its launch week, sustaining that hype was always going to be a challenge but Cheering With Bits and the free Tokens seem to be helping keep the momentum.