What transpired over the weekend was a spectacle within the Heroes of the Storm community that many feared would never happen again after Activision Blizzard stated they would no longer support the game’s competitive scene back in December.
A competitive Heroes of the Storm tournament reached over 11,500 --11,537 to be precise-- viewers on Twitch at a single moment, according to twitchtracker.com.
Tespa, long-time partners with Blizzard, has annually held the Heroes of the Dorm tournament each year since 2015. In the event, amateur collegiate players within North America would compete for prizes, including large scholarships to their respective universities. Once Blizzard declared they would no longer financially support the collegiate event, Tespa renamed it to “Tespa Collegiate Series” and ran the event themselves.
Although the prizes have been drastically scaled back from past iterations of the competition, the tournament was still able to find a wide range of enthusiastic participants. The first Group Stage matches were broadcasted on Blizzard’s official Heroes’ Twitch page called “blizzheroes."
Cast by long-time commentators Josh “JHow” Howard and Chris “Bahamut” Oniciu, and former professional player for Tempo Storm, Ben “Cattlepillar Bunk, the stream eclipsed the 11,000 viewer mark during a match between Ohio State and UC San Diego.
There have been other tournaments in existence within the Heroes’ community that have attracted viewership in the thousands but none that hit five-digits.
For contextual purposes, when the Heroes Global Championship (HGC) professional circuit existed and was broadcasted each weekend, the top teams in North America would pull similar viewership. Europe’s League Play matches consistently held a higher viewer number, typically 15,000+ depending on the matchup and time of day.
Tespa’s tournament will continue to be broadcasted each weekend over the next eight weeks, with the final two being the playoffs until a champion is crowned.
It’s unknown if next weekend’s Group Stage matches will see a dip in viewers or if there is growth to be had. What is definite is that, for one two-day weekend, Heroes of the Storm’s competitive scene was alive.