Media and entertainment giant AT&T has been enrolled in esports sponsorship since 2018, but it wasn't until recently that the company decided to enter the scene as a tournament organizer.
In its pursuit of 'empowering gaming and esports communities', AT&T introduced its first live-streamed gaming event. The AT&T Annihilator Cup took place over five weeks in April, with each tournament being dedicated to a different title, namely Apex Legends, CS:GO, Halo 5, Mortal Kombat 11 and Among Us.
The series featured 20 Twitch content creators, including the likes of Shroud, Lirik, Yassuo and Mizkif, battling for a slice of the $300,000 prize pool. Moreover, the top contestant of each week was rewarded with additional $5000.
The whole action was broadcasted on AT&T's newly established Twitch channel, as well as from each streamer's respective channel. In this article, we are going to break down the viewership statistics of each of the five events, compare them with each other and see who were the top streamers of the AT&T Annihilator Cup.
The event kicked off on April 2nd with the Apex Legends tournament, which set the bar quite high in terms of viewership numbers. In 4 hours of air time, its broadcast attracted over 120K viewers at its peak, who brought in a total of 375K Hours Watched.
On average, 87K viewers watched the Apex Legends competition, won by Cloud 9 streamer Jamison "PVPX" Moore, who's primarily focused on FPS titles.
The most popular streamer of the first Annihilator Cup became Michael "shroud" Grzesiek, who gathered almost 50K concurrent viewers, 41K Average Viewers and 176K Hours Watched on his own Twitch stream.
Right behind shroud was the official AT&T stream with 25K Peak Viewers, 14K Average Viewers and 58K Hours watched.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
The second contest of the series — CS:GO Annihilator Cup attracted even more people than the inaugural event. At its peak, 147K concurrent viewers spectated the CS:GO action, in which professional CS:GO player for team Mythic — Erik "fl0m" Flom — came out victorious.
The tournament marked469K Hours Watched by 119K viewers on average, which makes it the best performing event of the series.
Just like in the previous case, shroud's stream was the most successful among all, peaking at 66K viewers and bringing in 198K Hours Watched. On average, 50K people tuned in to shroud's stream, which is more than double the number of viewers that tuned into the second-best performing broadcast — Matthew "Mizkif" Rinaudo's stream.
Mizkif gathered 26K Peak Viewers, 22K Average Viewers and 77K Hours Watched. The AT&T stream, which placed third, attracted only 146 concurrent viewers less than Mizkif.
Mortal Kombat 11
After two weeks of FPS genres, the third week of AT&T Annihilator Cup had Mortal Kombat 11 front and centre. The fighting-game competition performed comparably to previous editions — 126K Peak Viewers, 108K Average Viewers and 397K Hours Watched — placing as the second most-spectated event of the series.
This time, it was streamer Jake "Jake'n'Bake" Abramson who snatched the $5000 reward for the tournament's best player.
As for the best performing stream — shroud was at the top of the list again with 38K Peak Viewers, 27K Average Viewers and 102K Hours Watched.
The second, Saqib Ali "Lirik" Zahid's stream was fairly close — only one spectator less than 35K concurrent viewers, 28K Average Viewers and 102K Hours Watched (64 HW more than shroud). AT&T's stream placed third again with 26K Peak Viewers.
We can't but share the moment with Yassuo, the guy was so upset about his game that he broke his keyboard during the fight, note that the content is quite explicit.
In week four, the viewership numbers slightly declined. The Halo 5 Annihilator Cuppeaked at 100K viewers, the least of the whole series. Nevertheless, the tournament compensated in spectator consistency and reached 400K Hours Watched, which is actually the second-best record in this category. On average, 78K people tuned in to spectate the Halo 5 competition, won by 100Thieves streamer Thomas "Tommey" Trewren.
Shroud defended his title of the top broadcast for the fourth time, although this was his worst performing stream within the series — 28K Peak Viewers, 24K Average Viewers and 124K Hours Watched. AT&T was second this time, reaching 26K concurrent viewers, 12K Average Viewers and 61K Hours Watched.
The AT&T Annihilator Cup series concluded with Among Us, currently a trendy, non-esports title in the social deduction genre. The final event of the tournament, won by 100Thieves streamer Hammoudi "Yassuo" Abdalrhman, gathered 104K Peak Viewers, 73K Average Viewers and 360K Hours Watched.
Surprisingly, the Among Us competition was the only one within the series in which shroud didn't dominate in viewership. This time around, Mizkif's stream earned the title of the best-performing broadcast, peaking at 30K concurrent viewers. On average, 17K viewers tuned in to his stream, reaching the mark of 75K Hours Watched.
Shroud was just behind with 25K Peak Viewers, 15K Average Viewers and 74K Hours Watched. AT&T kept up and attracted only 123 people less than shroud.
The absolute winner of the AT&T Annihilator Cup became Jake'n'Bake, who collected the most points from all five events and earned himself the main prize of $100,000.
Looking at the presented statistics, the series can be considered a success, especially when compared to other esports tournaments, such as the Overwatch or Call of Duty League. That said, the majority of spectators was brought in by the most popular competitors, which ultimately ensured bigger exposure for everybody involved.
It is not yet clear if the media giant plans to hold other competitions in the future, but the inaugural season of the AT&T Annihilator Cup showed that the tournament model that features known content creators works well in terms of viewership, while also supporting lesser-known streamers.
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