Friday, September 30, 2022

With the Help of Shroud, Sentinel’s Break Viewership Records

The Sentinels lost their first Last Chance Qualifier match on August 4 against The Guard. They were knocked down to the lower bracket, but they still found a sort of victory. The broadcast of their match broke viewership records for North America VALORANT streams with an astonishing peak of 623,475 viewers. The stream was listed seventh in the top ten largest VALORANT competitions of all time thanks to some help from Shroud and Sentinels.

[Related: LCQ NA Preview: Sentinels vs. The Guard]

The LCQ stream was a massive success. It was ranked just barely behind the next largest 2020’s Twitch Rivals event, which peaked at 692,277 viewers. That competition benefited from serious promotion by Twitch, and made headlines as one of the first of its kind.

Thursday’s game had an average viewership of just over 300k fans tuning in, and reached a grand total of over 2.5 million hours watched, according to Esports Charts. What can this popularity be attributed to? The immediately following match between FaZe Clan and Evil Geniuses only reached a peak of 169,848 viewers, so it’s clear that people were tuning in to watch Sentinels fight The Guard.

One cause for excitement is the new players. Sentinels brought on not one but two Counter Strike: Global Offensive veterans for this game: Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro, and Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek. Zellsis found an outpouring of support on Twitter. The day before, he reached the 100k followers needed to get verified, ending a history of cracks about his being the only member of Sentinels without a blue check mark. During the tournament, #Zellsis was trending on Twitter.

Shroud brought his own fan base to Sentinels. He was already a twitch heavyweight with 10.2 million followers. For comparison, the next most popular Sentinel on twitch is the legendary Tyson “TenZ” Ngo, who has just 2.9 million followers. Shroud made a splash with the first kill of the LCQ on Breeze, and secured a win with a combo that the announcer called “Mike Tyson” (a combination of Michael Grzesiek and Tyson Ngo) during the first game.

The co-streams hold more proof that it was a leaking in of Counter Strike fans that helped bolster this game’s ratings. The largest non-Riot stream of the LCQ was Tarik “tarik” Celik, a former professional CS:GO player. His channel hit a new record during the stream, peaking 196K viewers.

The Guard haven’t had as much time to build up a fanbase as Sentinels, but they still contributed to making this matchup exciting. In the VCT 2022 point standings, The Guard rank second only to OpTic Gaming. They were close to qualifying for Champions in Istanbul during the Stage One Masters tournament, but Paper Rex knocked them out. Their newest player, Trent “trent” Cairns, boasts 79.1k twitter followers. Trent only joined this January, but he still crushed the competition in the second game with an impressive kill/death ratio of 26 – 14.

The addition of big names from CS:GO has been a boon for the VALORANT scene. Whether they win or lose the tournament, both Sentinels and The Guard can appreciate the massive turnout of their fans. The popularity of the LCQ shows that it’s not just the finals and championships that fans are willing to tune in for.

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