In a year filled with everything from a pandemic, global riots, and the McRib back on the McDonalds menu, Heroes of the Storm esports return as well in a "large" scale league. Set to kick off their regular season action on Saturday, Nov. 7, the HeroesHearth Community Clash League (CCL) features some of the most well-known and talented amateur and former professional players from around the world.
With eight teams and 48 players set to duke it out over the next couple of months, there are bound to be storylines worth keeping an eye on and even more that will develop as the season progresses. But one that fans and haters of the title will keep a close eye on is the viewership of the event on Twitch's streaming platform. What can we expect and how big a deal is it after all? Inven Global dug a little deeper on the subject.
The almighty eyeball
Ah, viewership metrics. It's what makes the world of content consumption and creation go round and round. It's how games and esports scenes are (incorrectly so) compared to one another, validated, and marketed to a larger audience or potential sponsors. Depending on who you ask, the Heroes of the Storm's competitive scene succeeded and failed in this regard over the years and that trend will continue when the CCL regular season debuts this weekend.
During the league's preseason IceBreaker Tournament, viewership on the main HeroesHearth Twitch channel remained steady at around 3,500 eyeballs and peaked at nearly 4,500, according to SullyGnome. Ian Anderson, the Senior Vice President of Wisdom Gaming Group (HeroesHearth's parent company) told Inven Global that, across all platforms and co-streams broadcasting the preseason action, the event peaked at over 8,600 viewers and held an average concurrent viewership of a little over 5,000.
Is it anywhere near the Blizzard-run professional circuit, Heroes Global Championship (HGC), that showcased the game's top players from around the world? No. On any given weekend where regular-season matches would take place, HGC viewership would waver between 10,000 and 22,000.
However, that's not the circuit that the HeroesHearth team will be gauging themselves against this weekend and going forward. They are their own entity and act as such. According to Anderson, the team aimed for a peak of 4,000 concurrent viewers and an average of 2,000 over the course of the two-day event that took place in October. They more than doubled that.
"Honestly, we have already surpassed my personal goals in terms of viewership and community engagement — it has been awesome and we've had an incredible time making the league," said Anderson.
Few gaming companies in the world have the resources that Activision Blizzard does and what they consider success is not the bar that HeroesHearth is setting their sights towards. The ladder doesn't have the overhead, investor pressure, and expectations of the former that dictates their every move.
What will however be an intriguing storyline over the course of the CCL season is whether the viewership sustains itself as the year progresses. Will Week 1 peak at 7,500 viewers than by, say, Week 5 less than 1,000 individuals are tuning in? How much does the community really want competitive Heroes of the Storm action? Is this all a flash in the pan for nostalgia's sake?
Time will tell and people will be watching.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.