Why was OMEGA League so popular?

By Tom CockramSeptember 9, 2020
Recently, the OMEGA League was reported as one of the most-watched non-Dota Pro Circuit events at 412,391 peak viewers. But how did WePlay!, the studio organizing the coverage, achieve this?

Timing

There are simply no DPC events on at the moment for fans to enjoy. If you can secure those tier 1 teams, your event will draw the viewers in. When the DPC is going on, fans are less likely to tune into a non-DPC event as they’d rather catch them at the Valve event.
With the current global pandemic, a large portion of people wouldn’t be able to watch a Dota event on a Monday morning. However, now a lot more people are working from home, able to throw up that stream on their second monitor while they work. Or perhaps their work is not safe to return back to so, as a result, they’re unable to work, giving more free time.

Scheduling

The tournament was spread over an extended period, four weeks to be exact. Fans could follow their team through a journey. When it came to the finals, fans had invested a lot of time into the event. Scheduling your tournament like this can result in you having shorter days; no more 14-hour Dota days! This means perhaps watching the whole event rather than just your favorite teams as there were only a couple of matches a day.

Tier 2 Dota

Tier 2 Dota has and is currently going through some rough patches. With a scene that heavily revolves around one event, it’s not too surprising to see the lower divisions suffer. WePlay! however, brought in the tier 2/3 into the event and made it a better experience as a result. The OMEGA League had an Immortal division, which was the premier event with big teams such as Team Secret and OG. But it also featured some lesser-known teams in the Divine division such as Cyber Legacy and Team Unique.
At the end of the group stage, we saw the top of the Divine division play against the bottom of the Immortal division. During the playoffs, the day started with the Divine division, which made for an exciting warm-up for the Immortal division. Tier 2/3 Dota gets fewer viewers because it normally comes with much lower production. Usually, it’s people doing their best to cast the event out of their bedrooms. If you get these teams and put them with great production and talented casters - people will watch, as fans pointed out on Reddit.

Talent

WePlay! had three different hosts for the event: Jorien "Sheever" van der Heijden, Richard "Rich" Campbell, and Jake "SirActionSlacks" Kanner. Each of these hosts brings you a very different type of panel. Sheever brings you the serious analysis desk with some bad jokes sprinkled in. Rich brings you a friendly environment, making you feel like you’re with friends, listening to some great stories about Dota. SirActionSlacks brings you a highly energetic, passionate section, full of winding his panelists up and sharing reasons why Windranger sucks.
Having three very different hosts gave the viewers a unique experience each time. It also allowed the hosts to have breaks and give a better performance than if they had worked 14-hour days, which has been a problem before.

Production

As is standard with WePlay! events, the production level was top notch. There were few if any technical difficulties. The panels were interesting and exciting with the various guests and hosts. It had a strong theme that saw our favorite Dota 2 talent dressed up as Greek gods. The set was beautifully made, and I’m sure I spent a good few hours just staring at the set during the event. During the breaks, there was video content to keep you entertained such as having the talent trying to make a selected Dota 2 hero out of colored clay. Somehow, Austin "Capitalist" Walsh managed to mess up making IO...

Bringing the players to life

WePlay! also did a fantastic job of bringing the people behind the screens to life. They did this with some more traditional ways such as having the players be interviewed after a win which is very common for LAN events but less so for online events. But what really stood out to me was that during the games, you could see some players via their webcams. Sure not all of them had the camera on but when players did, it felt much more like a LAN environment. This allowed you to see players' reactions to events. This addition made the event feel a lot more like a LAN as well as having the talent all in the same place.
WePlay! has produced brilliant tournament after brilliant tournament, but I think they outdid themselves with the OMEGA League. Careful planning clearly went into this event to make it the seamless, hilarious, Dota-packed event it was. As a viewer, I very much loved every second of the OMEGA League and I’m glad that it got the viewers this caliber of event deserved.
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