Based on research done by The Esports Observer, the viewership of the LCS and LEC rose significantly compared to last year. The results are based on the stats of Riot’s official Twitch channel, conducted during this year’s and last year’s Spring Split semifinal weekends. The LEC has seen an approximate increase of 20K concurrent viewers compared to last year. Similarly, the total hours watched also increased from 826K hours last year to 1.1 million this year.
On the other side of the pond, the LCS saw similar growth. Last year, the semifinals averaged 141K concurrent viewers. This year, the number rose to 158K concurrent viewers, while also seeing a mild increase in hours watched.
This is even more surprising looking at the fact that there were fewer games played than last year. 2018’s LCS semifinals had a total of nine games played, while they had eight this year. In Europe, the LEC played a total of eight games, compared to this year’s seven.
Each region saw peak viewership in concurrent viewers during the longest series of their semifinals. In the LCS, the peak was 293K during the fifth game of TSM versus Cloud9. Over in EU, the last game of Fnatic’s series versus Splyce saw 175K concurrent viewers, the most in the LEC semifinals.
An important thing to note is this research only took the official Riot Games Twitch into account. This could mean the research doesn’t clearly represent the overall viewership numbers, especially for the LEC. The European league has many broadcast partners that stream the games in other languages. Some of the more popular ones are the French O’Gaming TV, the Spanish LVP, the German Summoner’s Inn, and the Italian PG Esports. These alternative channels don’t draw in the same numbers as the official broadcast. They do however give League of Legends fans the privilege of watching the games cast in many different languages.
Another factor to point out is that the stats used in this research only came from the Twitch platform. Riot also runs broadcasts on YouTube, and it amasses a slightly smaller but still large viewer base.
Viewership increases are always encouraging, both for broadcasters and the esports industry at large. It also shows that both regions are doing a good job, even after major rebrands from both sides.
Do you think the numbers will keep rising? Is esports only going to get bigger? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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Vince Koyle is an esports writer, tech nerd and future CompSci student. He often likes to compare traditional sports to esports, showing his love for both kinds. Also tends to sometimes try too hard with explaining what esports is and how it isn’t any different than traditional sports. He mainly covers the League of Legends scene, with an emphasis on European and Asian leagues.