League of Legends Worlds Semi Final is the Most Watched Esports Event Ever
The League of Legends World Championship will take place in Paris on November 10. As expected it’s sold out. The second semi final match achieved 4 million concurrent viewers becoming the most watched esports event to date. Sunday’s final may even smash this latest esports record.
The Washington Post cited audience statistics from Esports Charts and says the final between G2 Esports from Europe and FunPlus Phoenix from China might well exceed the 4 million mark.
In our opinion, the event is highly likely to considering the run up matches further prove esports incredible popularity with players and fans alike.
The massive esports tournament in Paris will open with a ceremony on Friday November 8, at the Eiffel Tower. As per reporting, planning for the event began last November and the 2019 final far outstrips the first League of Legends World Championship eight years ago which was held in a conference hall in Sweden.
Even Riot Games staff weren’t early believers
Riot Games Co-Founder, Marc Merrill, told The Washington Post in an interview that he was once laughed at when he would broach the subject of competitive play. He adds that only a “handful” of people at Riot believed in the future of competitive play. Merrill said:
“Most people were very skeptical about esports, including a lot of people inside the company.”
At the first Worlds tournament in Sweden in 2011, hosted by Dreamhack, gamers took their own computers and competed live in front of thousands of fans. The organizers were unsure how many outside viewers the event would garner, however hundreds of thousands watched online. Merrill says:
“We were blown away by the response, by how many people wanted to tune into the action.”
Streaming platform Twitch was also launched in 2011.
After the success of the first World Championship, Riot Games decided it would run the league in-house and developed the League Championship Series in 2012. Merrill says the goal was to enable League of Legends to be “a real sport.”
2012’s championship was a success despite technical issues and 2013 event tickets sold out within an hour. 32 million people watched at least some of the 2013 Worlds via Twitch. Riot Games has added employees with NFL and Olympic event experience but has taken the approach that it needed to build its own expertise.
See also: League of Legends Betting
Events to rival the Olympics and the Super Bowl
Today esports events have been screened by over 30 traditional television and digital platforms including ESPN and SYFY and have been broadcasted in 13 different languages. The Washington Post says Riot’s event experience rivals “events such as the Olympics” and arguably exceeds “the World Cup and Super Bowl, with its technological innovation and production value.”
Esports is now a billion-dollar industry and still growing, rapidly, its success has been driven by committed companies like Riot Games and massively popular games like League of Legends. It has some way to go to rival traditional sports leagues’ overall viewership, but esports is headed in the right direction. A recent survey found 75% of 21-35-year olds were watching esports, at the detriment to time they would have otherwise spent watching traditional sports.
Images courtesy of LoL Esports