Gone are the days when streaming was synonymous with playing video games in a bedroom. In recent years, streamers have moved their cameras away from their desktops and into live events that are awesome, hilarious, and sometimes downright weird. On Sunday, March 26, live events hosted by streamers will reach a new high with the Kings League Final Four match, the biggest such event in Twitch history.
On Friday, more than 85,000 tickets were sold for the Kings League final at FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium. The event marks the end of the indoor soccer league with video game style rules launched by former professional footballer Gerard Pique. After speaking to Twitch and other streaming experts, Gizmodo can confirm that Pique’s big football showdown is the biggest live audience ever by a Twitch streamer.
On top of that, the Kings League has climbed the Twitch charts as a rocket ship, further enhancing its mainstream appeal. As of March 19, the official tournament channel was the third most-watched channel on Twitch since its debut on January 1, with 27 million hours watched, according to tracker Twitch. Flow charts.
The huge success of the tournament in person and online highlights the close relationship streamers have with their fans, and highlights how this connection can generate a massive following, even when the event in question is something crazy and completely new. The Kings League has also made it clear that watching streamers play games and chat with them at home is no longer enough, a reality the entertainment industry is aware of. willing to fund.
In a Twitch stream on tuesdayTwitch megastar Ibai Llanos, who leads ‘Porcinos FC’ (or ‘Swine FC’ in English) in the Kings League, says he never thought the tournament could become so big, and pointed out that streamers have a big role in its success.
“I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of people in this community or in this chat who watch things just because I do them or just because they get addicted to the passion I convey when I do things. or just because I explain what I’m doing and they say, ‘Damn, well, I want to watch this,’ Ibai said on Twitch. “There are a lot of people watching the Kings League because of who’s behind it, whether it’s me, Grefg or Spursito… It’s really crazy and it makes me very, very happy.”
Events hosted by streamers are more than ‘niche entertainment for nerds’
Offline and live events run by streamers are nothing new. In recent years, they have included fan meetings, esports tournaments, streamer rewards, and even gloriously silly events like the “Balloon World Cup,” a competition founded by Ibai and Pique that challenges players not to let a ball hits the ground. What is new is that they are become much bigger and more popular.
Quentin Bordage, founder and CEO of the influencer marketing firm Kolsquaretold Gizmodo that the Kings League’s record viewing figures come as no surprise, pointing out that there were several sold-out sporting events hosted by streamers in France, Spain and the United Kingdom in 2022.
“Livestreams were once considered niche entertainment for nerds, but the reality is now very far from that,” Bordage said in an email. “These are not only a popular way for creators and brands to really engage with their audiences, they are also increasingly social events, as most fans like to gather to watch programs together and share experience, both virtual and in person.”
2022 has been a huge year for live events in Europe, according to data provided to Gizmodo by Kolsquare. It featured The evening of the year II, or “Night of the Year II”, a streaming boxing match hosted by Ibai in Spain with a live audience of 12,000 and 3.3 million concurrent viewers online, the current world record on Twitch. In the UK, YouTube streamers Sidemen drew 27,000 viewers to their Charity football game and 2.6 million competitors.
French streamers also stood out for their events, with that of streamer AmineMaTue Eleven All Stars France vs Spaina football game with streamers from both countries, attracting 20,000 viewers and 1.2 million concurrent viewers. In November, F4 motor racing GP Explorerfrom streamer Squeezie and others, drew 40,000 live streamers and over 1.1 concurrent viewers on Squeezie’s channel alone.
Also, while the CEO of Kolsquare maintains that IRL live events have seen a steady increase among streamers, he said the covid-19 pandemic has led to a huge increase in events. During the lockdown, streamers and their audiences have formed strong relationships and friendships, Bordage explained.
“When public gatherings were made possible again, people were excited to finally come together and share the connections they had — in real life,” Bordage said.
Nazar Babenko, product manager at Streams Charts, agreed, pointing out that streamers have found new audiences during the pandemic. However, sitting at home and playing games or live chatting is no longer enough for viewers. Fans want a show, Babenko told Gizmodo, and all of these live events are primarily for viewers.
“All influencers are media personalities. Just like in pop culture or sports, meeting your idol live, supporting them at an offline event brings unforgettable emotions. You listen to your favorite band on YouTube, but you would like going to their concert to hear them live, right?” Babenko said. “It’s the same with streamers.”
The Kings League takes streamer-run live events to a new level
In just three months, Pique has taken streamer-run live events to a whole new level, making them look more professional and demonstrating that there is enough appetite for streamer-run live events for almost sell the largest football stadium in Europe. The Camp Nou can normally accommodate nearly 100,000 spectators, but due to renovations and screens being installed for Sunday’s game, the stadium’s current capacity is around 90,000, according to Kings League Officials.
The efforts of the former footballer paid off. Sponsors flocked to the Kings League, which debuted new sponsor logos and product placements almost weekly. On Wednesday, the Kings League announced that official team merchandise, including t-shirts and, of course, football scarves, was now available from the official FC Barcelona store at Camp Nou.
In an interview with Brand, a Spanish national sports outlet, Pique said the Kings League has almost as many sponsors as the Davis Cup, the tennis world cup, which he also manages through his company, Kosmos. Even so, you can’t compare the Davis Cup to the Kings League, the former professional footballer said.
“Children in schools no longer say they are for FC Barcelona or Real Madrid. Now they are talking about supporting the Saiyans (TheGrefg’s team) or the Porcinos (Ibai’s team)”, Pique said “We’re not competing against basketball or football or any other sport. We’re something completely different, a mix of sport and entertainment, and people love that.”
Moreover, Pique is also proving that his Kings League can compete with traditional mainstream football. In January, officials from LaLiga, Spain’s main soccer league, scoffed when asked if they saw the new event as a rival and said it was a ‘circus’. The Kings League, which broadcasts its matches for free on Twitch, YouTube and TikTok, competes with LaLiga for viewers on Sundays, which broadcasts its matches on pay TV.
“Ask me that question in six months and we’ll see what we say about the Kings League,” said La Liga president Javier Tebas.
Last Thursday, the Kings League side joked and laughed at the comments they encountered disparaging and criticizing the Kings League. Ibai said he read that people would only listen to the first game. Spursito, President of barcelona lightning (Barcelona Lightning Bolt), said someone announced that only 20,000 tickets would be sold for the final. With a gleam in his eye, Pique joined us.
“I’ve also read and heard people say, ‘We’ll see where the Kings League is in six months’,” he said.
At this point, it’s fair to say that probably a lot further than it is now.