Written by Contributing Writer: Michael Martin

Nearly 5 million viewers tuned in to watch an all-time great Street Fighter V final at Evolution Championship Series 2017. The finals aired on ESPN2 for the second year in a row and Disney XD for the first time, garnering an estimated total viewership of 3.1 million. Twitch’s total unique viewership of 1.65 million brings the overall number to 4.75 million, the largest ever for an FGC event.

The Main Stage at the Evo 2017 Finals at Mandalay Bay. Photo by Carlton Beener.

Evo 2017’s top 8 featured an intriguing power struggle between Japan and USA, showcasing character diversity and gameplay at Street Fighter V’s highest level. Long-time Street Fighter veteran ECHO FOX|Tokido headlined the five players from Japan, including GGP|Kazunoko, first-time finalists Moke and DTN|Itabashi Zangief, and the only returning player from Evo 2016’s finals, GRPT|MOV.

America’s hopes for its first Evo Street Fighter V championship rested on the shoulders of first-time Street Fighter finalist and former Marvel champion SPLYCE|Filipino Champ, Capcom Cup 2016 champion Liquid|NuckleDu, and the most dominating player in Street Fighter V in 2017, PG|Punk.

Nine different characters were used in top 8 -- Dhalsim, Chun-Li, Guile, Rashid, Zangief, Cammy, Karin, Nash, and Akuma. The players got to show off some ingenious technology with their respective characters in the highly entertaining finals. Some of the highlights of the finals were ECHO FOX|Tokido versus SPLYCE|Filipino Champ and DTN|Itabashi Zangief and Moke in nail-biting sets as they played for their tournament lives in the losers bracket.

Meanwhile, PG|Punk steamrolled his way into grand finals without losing a single game all through Evo 2017. He even put ECHO FOX|Tokido into the losers bracket shortly before top 8. If anyone could have led USA to the Evo championship promise land it would have been PG|Punk. Unfortunately, he ran into a raging demon.

ECHO FOX|Tokido has been competing and making top 8s at Evo for years, long before EVO was ever on television. He won Capcom vs. SNK 2 in 2002 and Super Street Fighter II Turbo in 2007. He had never won an Evo championship in Street Fighter III or Street Fighter IV. That would change as ECHO FOX|Tokido clawed his way into grand finals through the losers bracket. There he dominated PG|Punk like no one else has this year, winning two sets by a combined record of 6-1, capturing his first Street Fighter V championship at Evo.

EVO 2017 Results
ECHO FOX|Tokodo, Evo 2017 Street Fighter Champion. Photo by Carlton Beener.

Last year, Street Fighter V Evo 2016 finals averaged an estimated 201,000 viewers, with a total of 1.95 million unique viewers on the ESPN2 live broadcast. On average, a minimum of 271,000 people watched the Evo 2017 finals on ESPN2 and Disney XD. That estimate combined with the 216,000 max concurrent viewers on Twitch brings the total max concurrent viewership to well over 500,000 viewers.  This is even more impressive considering that the Evo Street Fighter V tournament was broadcasted during the same time slot as the Season 7 premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

More people watched Street Fighter V at Evo 2017 than any other event but in case you missed out on the action, you can watch the re-airing of the Street Fighter V Top 8 Finals this Sunday, 8/6/17 at 6pm PST on Disney XD.

For more updates on Street Fighter V and the Capcom Pro Tour, follow @CapcomFighters on Twitter.

Written by Contributing Writer: Michael Martin