LCS Summer 2023 limps to lowest viewership on record

Marv Watson/Riot Games

The 2023 LCS Summer Split posted the lowest viewership figures on record, raising further questions about the sustainability of NA’s top league.

The Summer Split averaged a league-low 76,889 viewers, down 30 percent from the 2023 Spring Split and 33 percent from the 2022 Summer Split, according to data firm Esports Charts. Even with 20 more airtime hours than the previous split, the number of hours watched was down nearly 20 percent to 11.9 million, also the lowest figure in the league’s history.

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NA’s top League of Legends league provided fans with a Cinderella story as NRG, fresh off returning to the LCS, beat the reigning champions Cloud9 against all odds.

But it still didn’t make for must-see League of Legends. The final had a peak of 223,943 viewers, down 17% from the Spring Split’s final peak, which was already the lowest in LCS history.

Robert Paul/Riot Games
NRG had an incredible Cinderella story, but not many viewers tuned in

These viewership figures come as the LCS is going through the worst crisis in its history. TSM, the only remaining organization that has been in the league since the start, is on its way out, and there are rumors that at least one more organization is in talks to sell its spot.

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On the ‘Last Free Nation’ podcast, former analyst Christopher ‘MonteCristo’ Mykles said that the LCS should move away from Los Angeles to allow Riot and the teams to cut costs amid the current economic climate.

On Friday, Riot appointed Carlos Antunes as the Head of League of Legends Esports for the Americas. Many hope that Antunes, who was Riot’s Head of Esports for Brazil, will help revitalize a league that has been on a downward trajectory for the last two years.

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LCS viewership over the years

EventAverage ViewershipPeak Viewership
Spring 2017176,595642,535
Summer 2017150,254451,796
Spring 2018212,986520,211
Summer 2018161,116422,310
Spring 2019201,122599,813
Summer 2019162,767494,765
Spring 2020183,010379,426
Summer 2020205,750545,571
Spring 2021175,979415,731
Summer 2021125,248364,328
Spring 2022123,411387,072
Summer 2022115,545370,178
Spring 2023109,759271,376
Summer 202376,889223,943

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