Record-breaking views for 2019 esports events | LoL Worlds the most-watched event
2019 was, so far, the biggest year for esports yet. With record viewership numbers, bigger prize pools and competitions than ever, esports have had a fantastic year. We’ve taken a look at some of the biggest events of the year to find out which ones were the most successful.
Some of the stats from 2019 were a little surprising – others well in keeping with established esports traditions. World-wide (excluding viewers in China for all figures below) the most-watched event of the year was the League of Legends World Championship.
Hours and hours
Unsurprising as LoL is and has always been the biggest esport out there, it’s still impressive that the month-long competition managed to draw so many viewers. A total of 137 million hours were watched. That’s the equivalent of 1.563 decades.
2nd place went to the Dota 2 The International – 88 million hours of the competition were watched. That’s still 1000 decades, and it’s quite far ahead of events like the IEM Katowice Major with its 53 million hours.
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The average viewership stats look a little different – the Fortnite World Cup took the top spot as it managed to maintain 1.1 million average viewers – that’s roughly the population of Cyprus – and slightly ahead of the LoL World Championship with 1 million and the Dota 2 Invitational with 700.000.
Going by peak viewership, things look a little different – here, the League World Championship takes the top spot by a huge margin, followed by the Fortnite World Cup and the Free Fire World Series in Rio. League managed to score a phenomenal 3.9 million viewers (roughly the population of Moldova and Georgia), followed by 2.3 and 2 million for the second and third-placed events.
A change in the market
Where League, Dota 2 and Fortnite are hardly surprising titles to see at the top, the fact that Free Fire managed to muscle its way into the upper echelons is quite remarkable – the mobile battle royale game is proof of just how popular mobile games are. Almost 50% of the global games market according to Newzoo are now mobile games – that’s over $63 billion in mobile gaming revenue alone.
It was only a question of time before a mobile game started to pull even with established PC and console titles when it comes to being successful as an esport – although it’s far from dethroning League as the top esport in the world, it does paint a picture of incoming change.
This growth in mobile popularity comes at a cost of course – especially at the expense of titles like Dota 2 and CS:GO, who have done better in previous years. Dota 2’s Invitational remains a big name in the game, but the organisers will really have to step up their game if they want to once again be near the top in 2020. Even League of Legends can’t afford to rest on its laurels – the mobile revolution is coming.