There is absolutely no doubt the esports industry owes its booming popularity to more than just the skills of a few individuals and teams. Without fervent support from fans around the world, esports would be nowhere.
As a result, fans are of critical importance when looking at any aspect of the esports industry. And recently, escharts.com produced some notable research. Check out the list below regarding Twitch TV.
Most Popular Esports Teams By Hours Watched
- Team Liquid – 92.8 million hours
- Fnatic – 90.8 million hours
- Cloud9 – 57.6 million hours
- Natus Vincere – 55.7 million hours
- pro – 49.3 million hours
- G2 Esports – 48 million hours
- FaZe Clan – 45.5 million hours
- OpTic Gaming – 43.2 million hours
- Astralis – 40.4 million hours
- Evil Geniuses – 38.5 million hours
Unpacking the list
It’s critical to note these figures were reached across various esports for the organizations listed. For example, Team Liquid’s teams in Dota 2, League of Legends, CS:GO, and Fortnite bring us to a total of 92.8 million hours.
This obviously means multi-esport organizations dominate these rankings. Team Liquid and Fnatic fit that bill. The same can be said for almost all the teams on this list with the exception of just one: CS:GO legends Astralis. Frankly, their presence here is astonishing. It’s indicative of the level of success they’ve enjoyed the last two years in their chosen esport.
In 2018 alone, they won no less than seven high-profile Major or Premier events. These include the FACEIT Major London 2018, the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals, and the BLAST PRO Series Lisbon 2018. In 2019, they already landed the Intel Extreme Masters XIII title in Katowice and followed that up a couple of weeks later with a BLAST Pro Series win in Sao Paolo.
What is clear is that esports fans do remain loyal to their favorite teams. Fnatic, one of the first super-teams in esports, did not have a successful 2018. But they’re still one of the most supported organizations in the industry.
But let’s look at another critical metric, shall we?
Most popular esports by hours watched
- Fortnite – 1.36 billion hours
- League of Legend – 986.87 million hours
- Just Chatting – 481.1 million hours
- Dota 2 – 473.84 million hours
- PUBG – 454.60 million hours
- CS:GO – 402.33 million hours
- Hearthstone – 358.15 million hours
- Overwatch – 308.58 million hours
- World of Warcraft – 260.59 million hours
- Grand Theft Auto V – 147.40 million hours
The first thing to note here is that two options are not esports at all. Just Chatting is simply those users logged in to chat with their peers. Then, the final entry of Grand Theft Auto V isn’t really a game that can be played in contest form.
The big news, though, is that Fortnite smashed the opposition. You can see it netted a billion hours more than the likes of Hearthstone and Overwatch. While there may be doubt from some experts whether Fortnite can ever be a “real” esport, Twitch TV watchers appear to have made up their minds.
It is also interesting to note that the richest esport in terms of prize money, Dota 2, is only fourth on this list.
Most popular tournament by peak viewership
Finally, we take a look at specific events.
- LoL World Championships 2018 – 1,958,619
- CSGO ELeague Major 2018 – 1,342,107
- The International 2018 Dota 2 – 1,195,309
- CSGO FACEIT Major 2018 – 1,084,126
- LoL Asian Games 2018 – 973,568
- LoL – Mid Season Invitational 2018 – 947,861
- PUBG Global Invitational 2018 – 797,150
- LoL Champions Korea 2018 – 602,763
- LoL All Stars Las Vegas 2018 – 562,087
- IEM Extreme Masters Katowice 2018 CSGO – 515,000
What is clear in this category is how popular League of Legends remains in terms of top tournaments. The LoL World Championships are the most-watched event by a considerable margin. Once again, Dota 2’s The International 2018, by far the richest tournament of the year, could only come in third in terms of eyeballs.
Then, Fortnite’s biggest tournament failed to make the top 10. Again, we see a polarization between popularity as a video game and popularity as an esport.
Image credit: Gabe Ginsberg / Contributor / Getty Images