Travel back in time to May, right after Smash Summit 13. Though COVID had delayed the official start of the 2022 year, things looked good. We had a stretch of events coming up throughout the whole summer that we were excited for, I was writing columns about viewership in Melee, and I predicted that this year was going to be the best year for Melee since 2017. Though we have four months left to the year, I figured I’d take a look at how this summer fared.
In today’s column, I’m briefly comparing attendance across events from June to August. Then, I’m gonna look at how “Melee,” broadly speaking, performed as a whole throughout the entirety of the summer by stream metrics. After that, I’m going to offer some quick takeaways.
Summer 2022 In Attendance
Starting all the way with Battle of BC 4 in June, and concluding with Shine 2022 in August, we got to see the best of basically everyone in the Top 10, though it wasn’t necessarily all at once (more on this point later). In total, we got to see six “major,” “Mickey Mouse major” events. Do I care to provide a delineation between the two? Usually, but not for this column.
Anyway, I’ve created a table listing these events out. These have specific information pertaining to different KPIs related to their “success.” You’ll be familiar with some of these; and one may catch you off guard, though it’s fairly obvious when you think about it.
|Event||Month & Year||Total Attendees||Top 10 Players Competing||Did Mango Compete?||Who Won?|
|Battle of BC 4||June 2022||281||6||No||Leffen|
|CEO 2022||June 2022||224||2||No||Plup|
|GOML 2022||July 2022||493||6||Yes||Hungrybox|
|Double Down 2022||July 2022||368||5||No||iBDW|
|Phantom 2022||July 2022||188||3||Yes||iBDW|
|Fete 2022||July 2022||330||1||No||aMSa|
|Wavedash 2022||August 2022||350||3||Yes||Hungrybox|
|Super Smash Con 2022||August 2022||713||3||Yes||Mango|
|Shine 2022||August 2022||475||4||Yes||Zain|
To start with the positives, we basically had a big tournament, with major or near-major level competitive stakes worth paying attention to every other weekend. The event with the least amount of Top 10 players was arguably the in-person tournament of the year, if its overwhelmingly positive reception was any sign. Clearly, Melee is not having a problem with a lack of tournaments. That’s a great step forward out of the pandemic era.
Time to get into the not-so-fun stuff. While we’ve seen a lot of Top 10 players (and Mango), we’ve frustratingly seen them at different events. It’s been kind of like a “Six Degrees of Hungrybox,” deal, where he’s practically gone to everything and been the connecting force between all the people capable of winning majors. Honestly though, that’s not the thing worrying me. If indications for the fall point to anything, it’s that we’re going to eventually see the end of “Mickey Mouse” and the return of bonafide stacked supermajors.
Alright I THINK I have replied to every ranked player inquiry in my DMs.
It is very important that if you want to reserve a spot in the Ludwig Invitational LCQ to message me TODAY.
Public registration opens tomorrow.
If I haven't replied to you, bump me please.
— Aiden (@aidencalvin) August 31, 2022
The real heartbreaker is the lack of thousand-people events. Maybe it’s just nostalgia – or, conversely, the not-so-distant memory of the 1,552-entrant Genesis 8. But I was a little saddened to not see a single event this summer clear 1,000 Melee entrants. I’m tempted to blame the lingering presence of COVID as the reason for there’s nothing close to the return of 2014-2016 era Melee that I dream about. At the same time, the scene is just in a completely different place than it was back then.
I looked it up just to make sure I wasn’t crazy. Before Genesis 8, the last time we had a LAN event clear 1,000 entrants was Genesis 7 (1,110). And before that? Genesis 6 (1,113). How about the last time we had a thousand-person tourney that wasn’t the literal Smash Super Bowl, you ask? The Big House 8 (1,032). Will we ever achieve those heights again?
Streaming By The Numbers
After evaluating the measuring “in person criteria” for an event’s success, I decided to look at the Summer of 2022 by the numbers in terms of stream viewership. Using SullyGnome as a frame of reference, I examined the three things that every Melee fan needs to know when it comes to understanding a stream’s success: total watch time hours (by far the most important), average viewership, and maximum viewership.
|Month||Total Watch Time Hours||Average Viewers||Max Viewers|
NOTE: Because Phantom 2022’s top eight was primarily streamed on Ludwig’s YouTube channel, many of the numbers pertaining to the streaming performance of this event are not accounted for.
NOTE 2: This is technically just viewership for Melee as a whole – and not specific events – but the proportion of people watching non-major related Melee on major Sundays is so low that for the purpose of this column, I’m treating these numbers as indicative of those events as a whole.
I know you’re looking at these numbers like they’re Arabic. So instead of presenting them to you on your own and walking away like Jordan hitting a buzzer beater, here are some quick callouts:
- Melee viewership overwhelmingly does better when Mango is in grand finals. The 90,243 viewers watching him take on Hungrybox at Smash Con eclipses everything else this year.
- In other words, Mango’s fate determines whether 20,000 people tune in to a stream or not. This seriously affects a major series’ future chances of obtaining advertising revenue and metrics that they can pitch to sponsors.
- Though we had no months in which total watch hours exceeded 2,000,000, we had a strong “median” of 1,012,727 watch time hours for the summer in July. This is the best median month of a summer we’ve had since August 2017’s 1,182,434 watch time hours.
- I picked median watch time hours instead of average because the vast majority of watch time hours in each summer from 2018 to now were inflated by one month per year: August 2018 (2,161,053 hours), June 2019 (2,106,088 hours), July 2020 (1,439,699 hours), and July 2021 (2,760,024 hours, the most of a month in Melee history).