According to viewership numbers, 2021 was a bumper year for esports tournaments. There were records broken across the board, with many esports platforms experiencing all-time high figures like never before. In some cases, a grand return or an eye-watering prize pool drew in viewers with ease, as did controversy and the potential for a huge upset. Today, we’re here to determine the most watched esports event 2021 has to offer, and figure out why it was so massive.
For the statistics featured in this article, we’ve consulted with escharts.com, a one-stop shop for esports data. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the most viewed esports events 2021 threw down.
A Major Event By Name And Nature
We open this list with one of the most watched esports events 2021 has to offer. When the PGL Major Stockholm 2021 event wrapped up in November, it had broken countless CSGO records. In fact, out of the top ten most-watched esports tournaments, only two of them were a part of the FPS genre. That alone is enough to rank the PGL Major Stockholm event up on high, but there’s so much more data to pull out of this event.
Firstly, viewership for this tournament peaked at 2,748,850 – the highest concurrent viewer count in CSGO history. When the dust had settled, the tournament amassed an average viewership of 593,090, and more than 71,200,00 hours had been spent watching the event. Ultimately, more than two million viewers came from Twitch, the dominant platform for this event.
These Major tournaments are some of the best CSGO events on the schedule, and with viewership like this, it’s easy to see why.
The Big Bang Bang!
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang! is an extremely popular MOBA title in Southeast Asia, one that is remarkably similar to League of Legends. Outside of the region, the game isn’t all that well-known, but Southeast Asia offers one of the fastest-growing regions for esports viewership, so it comes as no surprise that one of its localised tournaments broke records.
Between August and October, one of the most watched events esports in 2021 took place – the MPL Indonesia League. This tournament, played out on the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang! platform boasted a $300k prize pool and huge viewership figures. It beat out the PGL Major Stockholm by a considerable margin, securing 76,940,000 hours of watch time. However, the record-breaking CSGO tournament did have the edge in peak viewership.
The Most Valuable Tournament
If the MPL ID beats CSGO, The International 10 leaves them both floundering in its wake. When it comes to the most watched esports event 2021 has to offer, you simply cannot forget about The International 10. This world-class tournament boasted the biggest single prize pool in esports history, and it was remarkably popular, all around the world. Although the tournament was on the air for just 125 hours in total, it amassed 107,230,000 hours watched in total.
That’s a remarkable enough figure in itself, but the best tournament in Dota 2 also pulled in a peak viewership of 2,740,000. In terms of overall watch time, there’s only one tournament in esports that managed to beat The International 10.
Worlds Taking Over The World
When it comes to the most watched esports event 2021 could possibly produce, we’re handing the crown to the LoL World Championship tournament. In fact, outside of 2021, the LoL World Championship event was the most watched esports tournament of all time. In 134 hours of airtime, the LoL World Championship racked up 174,820,000 hours of watch time and a peak viewership count of 4,010,000.
It stood as the sheer definition of a world-class tournament, effortlessly beating out every other title and tournament on this list. This was the most viewed esports event 2021 had to offer, and it was a remarkable one indeed. For LoL Worlds, the future is bright, and the platform is growing – can further League of Legends records be broken and set in 2022?
The Honorable Mentions
For 2021, the Valorant Champions event is the one FPS event other than the CSGO Major to make the top ten breakdown. This inaugural event was played out by sixteen teams in December of 2021, and it boasted a grand total of 46,040,000 hours of viewership. It was a new record for Valorant esports, which has stood in the shadow of the likes of CSGO for quite some time.
According to escharts.com, the opening of the Halo Championship Series broke records for the sci-fi shooter franchise with ease. In one event, with just 18 hours streamed, the HCS landed a massive 341,000 hours of viewership. These figures have already established the HCS as the most watched esports tournament in Halo history, and there’s still plenty more in store.
When the Call of Duty League Championship wrapped up in August, it had secured the title of the third most highly viewed COD tournament in history. It peaked with 238,794 viewers and drew in a staggering watch time of 1,950,000 hours in total. Although, there are fears surrounding the viewership potential for the 2022 Call of Duty League…
Finally, we’ll take a look at the PUBG Mobile Global Championship. While it didn’t rack up as many viewership hours as the big hitters on this list, it did secure the third-highest peak viewership in 2021 – a staggering 3,800,000 viewers. This is the best PUBG esports tournament around, and given the popularity of the time, it’s easy to see how it pulled in such huge numbers.