LoL viewership trajectory points toward a record breaking Worlds 2022
With esports becoming increasingly popular in the last decade, there’s almost no recognizable venture that doesn’t want to associate itself with a popular esports team or organization. Among the many esports, League of Legends esports continues to be the flagship in terms of viewership and there was more news alluding to the same last week.
The opening Playoffs match between Cloud9 and Counter Logic Gaming in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Summer Split drew 202,920 viewers at one, according to esports viewership data site Esports Charts. Just last week, the final match of the regular season drew around 140,000 average viewers, which is almost double of the 80,000 viewers per broadcast that the tournament averaged in the first weeks. These numbers should go higher as we get to the latter stages.
Meanhhile, the semifinal match of the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) between T1 and DWG KIA had 1,013,992 concurrent viewers at its peak, and the most viewed game of the 2022 LCK Summer season and second most of the year. Part of this has to do with T1’s popularity, their match against Gen.G from earlier in the year in the Spring season had 1,374,155 concurrent viewers across multiple streaming platforms, while the final netted over 1.6 million concurrent viewers just days ago.
Numbers keep raising and we are not even in the endgame yet
Last year, competitive League of Legends accumulated over 664.16 million hours of watch time, the most of any esport by some distance. Not to mention, these numbers don’t include viewership data from India and China, the two most populous countries in the world with a strong esports fan base.
The tremendous in esports is partly thanks to the way it has been marketed by big brands. There were concerns not so long because of the pandemic and the inability to not host live events that the interest would dampen but it’s only gotten stronger since. What the pandemic did do was see an increase in livestreaming and influencer marketing for esports and the effects of that are being seen now. League of Legends has even transcended its own video game origins with a popular Netflix show, Arcane, which was the most-watched Netflix show at the time of its release last year. The animated show was a critical and commercial success.
According to Newzoo, who undertake the global esports review, there will be around 577.2 million esports enthusiasts by the year 2024. Part of the reason for this growth has been the increase in viewership in regions like the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America. In countries like India and Brazil, there has been a clear interest in streaming through the use of mobile phones. Sites like Twitch and YouTube have also made access to esports viewership fairly easy with dedicated channels for tournaments. There is an active community online on forums like Twitter and Reddit that makes certain that viewers remain engaged in the esports community.
We are entering an era where esports becomes a daily topic, loyal fans argue strategy and draft in bars and cafes, and fandom is merched out into oblivion.
Worlds 2022 expected to break all viewership records
Heading into Worlds 2022, we fully expect all previous viewership records to be broken. First up, the event is held in North America with match days, audiences and timezone perfectly aligned for trackable western markets. Furthermore, LoL Worlds tickets already being sold out in pre-batches points towards packed vanues and record setting live audiences.
With Europe having four seeds at Worlds this year, I fully expect the maximum amount of viewers from all across the continent tuning in for the event. This will especially be amplified if the four teams in attendance are MAD Lions, Rogue, G2 and Fnatic. We can fully expect record breaking numbers hitting almost every stream.
All the metrics are pointing toward a new viewership record. How far the view counter will go remains to be seen.