MLG 2011 viewership surpasses 3.5 million

Pro gaming organization says average reach among 18-to-24-year-old males greater than Comedy Central, MTV, TBS, FX.

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The Major League Gaming organization handed out more than $1 million to competitors during its just-concluded 2011 season. And while that's certainly a significant chunk of change, the professional gaming circuit appears to have a viewership large enough to justify handing out that much in winnings.

Halo: Reach offered the biggest prize package this season.

Today, the MLG announced that more than 3.5 million people tuned in online or turned out in person to view the 2011 Pro Circuit season over its eight-month, six-event run. Those viewership figures are a record for the e-sports industry, the organization said. What's more, the MLG's reach among the 18-24 male demographic is larger than that of a number of cable TV networks.

"Our live streams of the Pro Circuit National Championships garnered more 18-24 male viewers than Comedy Central, MTV, TBS, and FX draw in an average quarter hour and nearly as many as Adult Swim," MLG CEO Sundance DiGiovanni said.

The 2011 Pro Circuit National Championships, held in Providence, Rhode Island, garnered 241,000 peak concurrent online viewers. The tournament was viewed by people in 175 countries, with the biggest audiences coming from the US, Germany, Canada, Sweden, and the UK. The 2011 season saw 15 million hours of video streamed online.

The MLG also saw significant in-person turnout at its six events. Some 97,000 people showed up at this year's tournaments, with more than 16,000 people on hand at the finals in November. The Anaheim event had the highest draw during the season with 20,000 in-person attendees over the three-day stretch.

Discussion

59 comments
SteveQ_basic
SteveQ_basic

@ Kage52124 Sounds like what other people do when they watch reality tv shows.

SkamArtist
SkamArtist

@ Taytortots If it were televised, I would hope that it is done in a way that it showcases the players and the teams. They need to make the players the stars and not just the games.

MachShot
MachShot

@ALLoY1717 Correction: MLG has no gender segregated leagues. At the National Championships a few weeks ago, MLG Starcraft had its first main stage match featuring a female. Sadly, it she went against Losira. Man, woman, doesn't matter, you're not getting by Losira.

McNeelyJ39
McNeelyJ39

i sadly like watching star craft matches.

Kage52124
Kage52124

Here's what's funny to me. People vicariously watching other people living vicariously through their video game characters. 2nd order vicarionism if you will... Not knocking those who enjoy it, but isn't this odd and a little ironic?

dah_master
dah_master

I wonder why many people are hating? Isn't this a good thing?

ALLoY1717
ALLoY1717

@BlueFlameBat I believe so, but it is split between mens and womens. Which is complete BS, I don't see any reason to do that in gaming. There is no difference between the sexes when a control is involved.

ALLoY1717
ALLoY1717

I prefer the fighting game live streams. Evo, Canada Cup, SBO etc. Just something about high level (2D) fighting games that is mezmorizing.

Flint247
Flint247

There is nothing wrong with watching people play video games. Then why would there be video games videos on Youtube?

nemesi609
nemesi609

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

cr8ive
cr8ive

I don't really care what game competition they are broadcasting, they could be broadcasting tetris competition live, I would still prefer to watch it rather than watch a jersey shore episode... Die snookie DIE!

vanzan1
vanzan1

UC Berkeley has a course to study starcraft tactic, gameplay and game theory. There is the lectures on the youtube. That means something

nurnberg
nurnberg

I like the MLG format for Starcraft 2. They make it very entertaining.

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

Are women allowed to compete in the MLG?

vault-boy
vault-boy

This is very surprising (and probably inaccurate). I don't know a single person who watches MLG.

StephenBassford
StephenBassford

@ Unfallen_Satan Starcraft 2 had around 200,000 concurrent viewers online at MLG Providence, with another thousand or so watching it.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

Good promotional material, but compared to the number of gamers out there, 3.5 million is a pretty small fraction. Besides, this information would be much more useful if we knew how many ppl turned out for which events. The popularity of certain games is probably a significant factor. A lot of folks watch gameplay videos on YouTube. If I were spending time watching someone else's gameplay, I might as well as pros at their best.

Tauu
Tauu

As a casual gamer Starcraft 2 kicks my butt. It's fun to watch but hard to play.

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

I never really watched any major competitive gaming until I started getting into Starcraft 2. It's the one game I watch videos on almost as much as I play it. P.S. Husky FTW. He's easily the best commentator. Now if we can get more 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 matches. Love the chaos.

supermoogle
supermoogle

The scene getting big is exciting to see.

bonesawisready5
bonesawisready5

Surprising. That would put it near Monday Night Raw in terms of total viewers (though the two are different, at different times, networks, etc)

2bitSmOkEy
2bitSmOkEy

Starcraft is the main event, not halo reach.

vanzan1
vanzan1

Counter Strike move a pile of money world wide done a lot a people to compete in tournaments. Don't you guys remember the CPL???. Starcraft 1 does equal in south korea. The difference between NFL and MLG is tradition in favor of NFL but e-sport is a reality. It's not just watch someone play videogame. It's competition in a high level. EVO 2003 daigo super parring move that will be totally non sense without the huge mass of spectators

ChadFromCanada
ChadFromCanada

I'd rather watch It's Always Sunny or Archer than some dudes playing video games any day. The other networks, meh.

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

Why put Reach in the related games? MLG got so big only after Starcraft showed up.

Mantiskilla007
Mantiskilla007

Congrats MLG on beating well....nothing. MTV is gutter trash (does it even have music videos?), TBS is syndicated shows (save NBA games once season starts), FX is same as TBS with a few shows. How the hell does that equate to being successful? I swear all this thing does is give college dudes more of a reason to be lazy and play one FPS all day b/c they think they'll make it big someday playing video games. PLEASE! Until Vegas has MLG as an event in the sports book then its not a sport and yes I'm not in that demographic either. (*Thumbs Down rating in 3...2..1...)

ejamesharper
ejamesharper

I don't know why so many of you are hating so much. SC2 live streams are a blast to watch if you play the game yourself and understand what's going on. It's fun watching top players compete.

twistedmalice
twistedmalice

It keeps growing year by year. With technology making it easier to view it, it will only keep growing. I would like to see what will happen next year.

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

Keeping in mind that Chess is a highly competitive Sport, there should be no reason as to doubting MLG's position as an eSport. Good luck playing Starcraft competitively if you're either 1. an idiot or 2. a casual.

RockySquirrel
RockySquirrel

Hmm... I'll stick to the NFL... but I'm over age 40...

MachShot
MachShot

@voldo25 I wonder how many GameSpot'ers, especially those whose avatar is a ninja that wears blue to try to hide in the dark, is still a virgin. Freakin' Soul Calibur nerd.

voldo25
voldo25

I wonder how many of those viewers are still virgins.

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

Wow, they almost nailed one really bad viewed night TV show... in 8 months.

Erick
Erick

@SkamArtist it would be nice to see it televised, and even in some ways it kind of is already with the streams etc. As long as they don't screw things up like they did with Adam Sissler (not sure if I spelled that right) with him being on the panel for the final match at EVO that was face palm, shake my head, fail. If anyone cares I put up a blog about my thoughts about NASL 2 that just ended some of the good and bad and what other tournaments like MLG can take from it.

SkamArtist
SkamArtist

I think they should def offer a more variety of games. But this will open doors for sure. TV networks and advertisers are def looking at these types of numbers and I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes a televised event maybe on G4 or Spike TV.

StephenBassford
StephenBassford

And for people who say "Why would you watch people other people play video games?" Well, I counter your question with another. Why do millions of grown men watch other men play football when they can easily go outside and throw the ball around themselves? We like watching the best do what they do best. Do I want to be the best at Starcraft 2, sure. Do I play a lot of it? Yeah, I do. But I don't have the time to sit down for 8 hours a day and practice. I don't have the money to travel across the country and compete competitively. I enjoy watching Starcraft 2 professional because each player has a storyline (moreso than any other sport - tweeting after a suspension? - lol) each matchup is entirely different. Every game pans out differently. The casters are entertaining, and the play is EMACULATE.

brotheren1
brotheren1

Starcraft 2 is really fun to watch. I don't see how people enjoy watching FPS games however.

Erick
Erick

Glad to see more coverage on MLG/eSports in general. Good sign of things to come. Starcraft 2 is very entertaining and still growing. Watch the MMA vs MVP GSL Finals at Blizzcon and see how hype the crowd gets! As everyone else mention'd haters gonna hate. You watch eSports for the same reason you watch normal sports. For the competition and the amazement of things that those PRO players can do that you can't do. @EPaul there have been some discussion regarding adding fighting games, but the two communities need to sync up better. There's kind of a disconnect right now.

yalta_basic
yalta_basic

This is a video game site. Why hate on news that is good for gaming? There is nothing more riveting than the high-level competition, storylines, and personalities that drive professional Starcraft 2. You also can't argue the esport's rising popularity or the community's passion. This is a good thing.

StephenBassford
StephenBassford

Starcraft 2 is easily one of the most entertaining game to watch. I enjoy ALL sports, soccer.. football, basketball, baseball, etc. Sometimes its nice to sit back and watch the best players in the world duke it out 1v1. What other sports have a 1 vs 1 aspect? Ping Pong and Pool? Yeah Starcraft is much more exiciting than those. Personally, however, I don't care for first person shooters that show at MLG, and I think watching RTS games are much more entertaining. Google Boxer vs. Rain Air Battle and tell me that it isn't exciting. Haters gon' hate.

fazio93
fazio93

@Zero5000X it's actually quite entertaining when you're watching the game you actually enjoy. just because none of the games on the pro circuit interest you doesn't mean others think it's boring too. @QOSMSTR it's not a sport, it's competition though

Solace427
Solace427

See my ex and I watch each other play Skyrim, for example because her and I get a kick out of what the other one does and play each others characters. It's fun on that scale. Sometimes we even play AC while slightly drunk. However, to watch an entire competition like this...can't do it. Think about it. Sitting there with a beer helmet...watching others play COD, Halo Reach, and so on...This is actually making me like football season

X_Colbert_X
X_Colbert_X

This news makes little sense. First off, MLG--which "broadcasts" live streams of video game footage--is comparing themselves to cable networks. Furthermore, the cable networks they are comparing themselves target completely different demographics than what MLG is going after. Comedy Central targets (and is very popular with) the male 18-49 crowd. This is the same crowd that gives shows like The Daily Show and Colbert Report on average 1.5 million viewers nightly--which makes this viewership of 3.5 million over the course of 8 months look pathetic. FX specializes in high-production original dramas that also target the 18-49 audience. TBS's flagship is Conan, which again garners ratings among the 18-49 crowd in a similar manner to The Daily Show. And from what I know, MTV essentially targets teen girls and has become an absolute joke of an "entertainment" channel. The only programming they mentioned that deals with the male 18-24 demographic is Adult Swim, which they admit to not matching in terms of viewers. If you're going to make claims against others, at least make sure the people you're railing are relevant to your claims. Also, the CEO of MLG is really named "Sundance"? Wat.

QOSMSTR
QOSMSTR

Still dont believe gaming is a sport...

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

Try explaining to someone what MLG is, and after they try and correct you that it is MLB, see how long it takes before they start laughing.