Nearly 500 billion people watched on the edge of their seats as Ev0ke defeated Triumvirate. in the exciting final match of the 5th Alliance Tournament, while the tournament overall garnered viewer ship reaching nearly one trillion. Both numbers shatter the previously held records, despite early predictions that the tournament would not garner huge ratings because of a lack of traditional pod pilot powerhouse alliances such as the three-time winners Band of Brothers.
Tournament organizers are ecstatic over the ratings, which more than doubled last year's numbers. "It went better than we could have hoped," said Aurora Soleil, from the Mercantile Club. "The tournament was popular all across the cluster, especially among the Caldari State, who made up nearly one-forth of the viewership despite having a much smaller population overall."
"It just goes to show that fans are more excited about watching good matches as opposed to seeing big names roll through the tournament," noted Ryuk Archer, a Bank of Luminaire spokesperson. "Several of the matches, such as eXceed. versus HUN Reloaded and Green Alliance versus Notoriety Alliance, were considered instant classics by viewers. And that final was something else."
Salome Zim, from the Amarr Certified News, suggested that the strong matches and upsets from the 4th Alliance Tournament, held last August, contributed to higher viewership this time around. "People like to see good competitions, no matter what form they take. Last August's tournament had several exciting matches. People had to see them on replays hours, even days later. This time, they didn't want to miss out on the instant reactions, so they sat down to watch them live."
Net broadcast revenue from the tournament is estimated to be at nearly 200 trillion ISK, which makes the event a stunning success for the financiers. Total revenues are likely to double or even triple that number as merchandise related to the event is tabulated.
"We can only expect that this event will grow larger and larger," said Inez Temple of the Leisure Group. "There's still a huge number of people not watching. We hope that the excitement generated for this tournament will carry through to the next."
Others are suggesting the tournament organizers restrain their expectations. Said Julius Hayden, an economist for the Scope, "One of the reasons for such high viewership is the economic depression that has hit much of the cluster. Especially in the State, where cut worker hours and mass layoffs are becoming commonplace. People were at home able to watch the event, and seeing ultra-rich pod pilots killing each other was probably cathartic for some. I don't know if that trend will continue into the future, especially if the economy rebounds."
Despite the naysayers, organizers are already planning for the 6th Alliance Tournament, though no official details have been decided yet. "Stay tuned," was the only thing tournament spokesperson Jaken Clemens would say when asked.
The previous most watched single sport match was the 96 Mindclash Championship. That year saw record viewership for the Mindclash Pro Tour as Etna Gaiman, a 21-year old prodigy, captivated audiences across the cluster as the first Vherokior challenger for the title of Mindclash champion in nearly 50 years. Though she did not reach the final match - where prior Amarrian two-time champion Laharl Al-Kador defeated that year's money leader Zetta Crey - audiences remained tuned in for the final to the count of 350 billion viewers.
The previous most watched multi-day sporting event was the first-ever Haysid Cup tournament in the Galactic Gravball League, which for the first time pitted the champion teams of each of the four major gravball leagues against each other. Played in 64, the historic tournament was watched by an estimated 780 billion people, including 300 billion who watched the Tash-Murkon Titans defeat the Oursalleret Clash 15 to 10 in the championship game.