Ibai Says Twitch Capped Viewers on His 3.4M Velada Stream

Tensions continue to simmer between Spanish streamer Ibai Llanos, who on Saturday broke the world record for most concurrent live viewers on Twitch with his annual boxing event, and Twitch. After slamming the platform on Saturday for outages during La Velada del Año III, which drew in 3.4 million viewers, the streamer says many experts have told him that they believe Twitch capped the number of viewers on his stream—an allegation that Twitch firmly denies.

“They’ve told me that Twitch capped a part of my viewers, that more people couldn’t access my stream, and that there’s a reason behind that if you look at the data from Twitch Tracker, which shows viewers going up and down,” Ibai said in a stream on Sunday, referring to messages he’s received from people who claim to be experts and his own video editor. “I have no fucking idea if it’s true, but I’ve gotten so many messages from people saying, ‘Ibai, they robbed you.’”

Twitch told Gizmodo in an email on Tuesday morning that the claims about capping viewers to La Velada del Año III, a streamer vs. streamer boxing match which translates to “The Night of the Year” in English, were false.

“We absolutely did not cap the numbers of viewers,” a Twitch spokesperson said.

Many streamers in the industry expected La Velada del Año III to break the previous Twitch world viewing record—also held by Ibai with the same event last year, which brought in 3.35 million viewers—by a large margin given the size of this year’s event. From featuring streamers-turned-boxers from six different countries and hosting the event in one of Spain’s biggest soccer stadiums with an in-person audience more than 70,000 people, La Velada del Año III is the biggest event of Ibai’s career to date.

The Mexican Twitch streamer Samy “Rivers” Rivera fights against Spanish TikToker Marina “Rivers” Rivera at La Velada del Año III.
Photo: La Velada del Año III

In the end, the Velada did break Twitch’s world viewing record, drawing in 3.44 million concurrent viewers, according to Streams Charts, an increase of about 86,600 viewers compared to last year’s event. While the new record was clearly impressive, it was also a bit underwhelming. In the view of some streamers, Twitch was to blame.

“Yesterday, @IbaiLlanos literally broke Twitch,” the streamer Shadoune, whose real name is Gabriel Marolt, wrote in a tweet on Sunday, referring to data from the analytics firm Twitch Tracker. “He reached 3.499.999 viewers various times, and it was impossible to reach more than that. It looks like Ibai reached the absolute maximum number of viewers allowed by Twitch.”

Marolt’s analysis of Twitch Tracker’s data has been one of the most widely cited pieces of so-called “evidence” that Twitch capped Ibai’s Velada stream, despite the platform’s firm denial. Gizmodo reached out to Twitch Tracker on Tuesday morning for comment on its data and the claims but did not immediately hear back.

Another piece of purported evidence is a screenshot of the Velada stream with 5.4 million viewers, a number that reportedly appeared on Twitch after one of Ibai’s fellow commentators asked people to open Twitch individually on their phones in order to get the “real” number of viewers. Although many people watch the Velada together, Twitch counts watch parties as one viewer since only one device is connected to the stream.

When asked about the doubts over the Velada’s viewership and the alleged cap on viewers, Streams Charts, an analytics service that competes with Twitch Tracker, dismissed the claims. The company told Gizmodo that the 5.4 million viewership number floating around was most likely a glitch in the Twitch media player, which happens from time to time and is not unusual.

As far the claims about an alleged cap, Streams Charts said Twitch Tracker’s very design could have led to confusion. Twitch Tracker updates its data from the Twitch API every 10 minutes, Streams Charts explained. In contrast, Streams Charts updates its data every minute, and in its view, the peak during Ibai’s stream was accurate. Streams Charts shared the minute-by-minute data it received from Twitch with Gizmodo, which indeed shows that the stream’s viewership peak was 3.44 million, not 5.4 million.

A photo of the crowd Civitas Metropolitano soccer stadium, where La Velada del Año III was held.

La Velada del Año III was held before a crowd of more than 70,000 at the Civitas Metropolitano soccer stadium in Madrid, Spain.
Photo: La Velada del Año III

Ibai said on Monday that he had spoken with Twitch about the claims that his stream had been capped, as well as the outages reported by some users the day of the event. The streamer had previously criticized Twitch during the Velada for the outages, stating that it was a shame to put the event and “see that a platform with $300 million isn’t capable of providing a good server.” In his conversation with Twitch, Ibai said the platform told him that it was very hard to host a stream with that many viewers and that it had done the best it could.

While the streamer appeared to still have some doubts about his viewership numbers, he told his community that it was time to put the matter to rest.

“It’s all good. We’ve set the new record by a little bit, so that next time we can surpass it once more,” Ibai said in a stream. “In the end, the record doesn’t matter, it’s not useful. If Twitch paid me more, gave me a trophy, a T-shirt, a pin, or if it gave my viewers some socks, then I would say that it’s something that means a lot to me. But what’s at stake here is really a matter of personal ego, which is disgusting, and it doesn’t mean anything.”

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