Millions of people from around the world will tune in to watch the ball drop in Times Square this New Year’s Eve ― only this time, the likes of Anderson Cooper and Ryan Seacrest will have to share the stage with a gamer.
Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, one of the most popular streamers in the world, will be hosting his own New Year’s Eve show on Twitch, drawing upward of a million viewers away from the big networks as the ball drops.
“It’s a new era of gaming,” Blevins said. “And a new era of New Year’s Eve.”
While unprecedented, it’s not surprising that Ninja would be given prime real estate to stream from the third floor of the Paramount Building in Times Square ― his 13 million followers on Twitch and 20 million subscribers on YouTube can translate to hundreds of thousands of concurrent viewers when he streams video games like Fortnite.
He’s been piling on the accolades this year. He was, in his own words, the “first professional gamer” on ESPN the Magazine. He was a headlining guest on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” In March he teamed up with Drake on the platform and pulled in 628,000 concurrent viewers, marking a big shift in the entertainment industry toward independent streamers and away from the big networks.
This event will have no less impact. Blevins expects to have about a million concurrent viewers when he goes live, streaming Fortnite and other shenanigans from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Eastern time.
If successful, Ninja’s stream will mark another big cultural milestone; as more viewers begin to turn toward a bright-haired, babyfaced gamer on Twitch rather than NBC or Fox, it certainly feels that the age of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” is coming to an end.
Blevins, 27, doesn’t seem to mind. He never really watched Clark anyway.
“My parents watched Dick Clark when I was a kid, while I played video games in the basement,” he told the Washington Post. “It’s New Year’s Eve in Times Square. It’s culturally bigger here. And the ball is awesome.”
To be sure, the event will bring more success to Blevins, who is estimated to make more than $500,000 a month, based on paid subscriptions to his Twitch and YouTube channels, as well as sponsorship deals. But this event hasn’t been without its drama. Other prominent Twitch streamers, like Dr. Disrespect, have reportedly been complaining that Blevins’ face has been rolling on ads on their channels in the lead-up to his New Year’s Eve stream.
“If there is offsite advertising that’s fine. If you had a NYE event planned it sucks to have Twitch force an ad promoting someone else’s channel,” tweeted streamer MadtownMaverick, as Variety first pointed out.
Blevins appears to be keeping his eye on the ball.
“And we will definitely do something with the ball,” he said of his stream. You can watch his stream over on Twitch.