The first week of the 2023 LEC Winter split has come to an end, showing a significant dip in both peak and average viewership.
Week one of Europe’s premier League of Legends competition had a peak viewership of 454,630 people, according to statistics website Esports Charts. This represents a 14 percent dip as compared to the first week of the 2022 LEC Spring split, which peaked at 527,567 viewers.
But even more telling is the fact that the opening week of LEC Winter 2023 drew 289,766 viewers on average, down 17 percent from the 350,563 average viewers during the first week of LEC Spring 2022. However, it is still a significant increase when compared to the 2022 LEC Summer first week’s 190,101 average.
Riot Games introduced a new, three-split format in the LEC for 2023, shifting the matchdays to Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. Each split will last six weeks and will consist of three stages (regular season, group stage and playoffs), with teams facing each other only once in the round-robin stage.
This substantially raised the stakes for each best-of-one game, but the viewership figures didn’t reflect that. The match between KOI and EXCEL had the highest viewership of week 1, followed by ‘El Classico’, the bout between G2 Esports and Fnatic, which peaked at 434,000 viewers.
KOI ended the first week as the most popular team in LEC, averaging 365,508 viewers — 46,767 more than the next-best team, G2 Esports. The Spanish organization, a new face in the league after merging with Rogue, is co-streaming its team’s matches on owner Ibai Llanos’s Twitch channel, which peaked at almost 116,000 viewers during the match against EXCEL, according to Streams Charts.
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Without the co-streaming partnership program, which also includes Team Heretics, the viewership figures would look even worse. And this raises the question of how low the viewership could get if KOI do not make a deep run in the Winter split. The former Rogue team is currently 2-1 in the league standings and is expected to reach the group stage, which will feature the top eight teams from the regular season.
Week 1 of the 2023 LEC Winter Split was marred by long delays between games, prompting Riot Games to issue a statement. The developer said that “peripheral issues related to a specific model’s firmware” were behind the problem and that it was trying to find a permanent solution.