LCS Summer 2023 split opens to record low viewership

Luís Mira

LCS Summer 2023 is now underway, and the opening day of the split was not good news for the North American league.

After a two-week delay caused by a walkout vote, the LCS season finally resumed on June 14. Cloud9 and Golden Guardians, the two finalists of the Spring Split, locked horns in the opening game, a 26-minute affair that was won by the reigning LCS champions.

Even with co-streamers accounted for, the opening game had a shockingly low peak viewership that was just shy of 83,000 people, according to data firm Esports Charts, which added that it was the first time that an opening LCS summer game couldn’t crack 100,000 concurrent viewers.

When compared to last year’s Summer opening game, between Cloud9 and Evil Geniuses, the drop in peak viewers is nearly a shocking 30 percent.

Despite its low peak, the opening game was still the most popular bout of the day. Only two other games drew in over 80,000 concurrent viewers (TSM versus Team Liquid and FlyQuest versus 100 Thieves) as the first day averaged 64,727 viewers.

Since 2021, LCS viewership has decreased from the Spring to the Summer split. But even with that caveat, many are surprised to see such a sharp decline when compared to the Spring Split’s opening day.

MetricLCS Spring 2023LCS Summer 2023
Peak viewership178,78482,874
Average viewership127,40664,727
Hours watched775,050332,422
Airtime6h 5m5h 10m

On social media, some fans have admitted that they were unaware that the LCS Summer split had already kicked off. Originally, matches were scheduled to be played only on Thursdays and Fridays (except for the two Super Weeks) before Riot Games introduced a third gameday for the Summer split because of the two-week delay.

Others have said that the current meta is making fans lose interest in the game and that a similar drop could also happen in the LEC, Europe’s top League of Legends competition.

Only time will tell whether LCS viewership will increase as the split goes on and fans get accustomed to the new, condensed schedule, but the early signs are incredibly worrying, especially after the LCS 2023 Spring final was the least-watched title decider in the league’s history.