League of Legends

LoL World Championship eclipses Fortnite, Overwatch in viewership metrics

by Isaac McIntyre
Riot Games

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League of Legends fans already knew the 2019 World Championship was one of the biggest ever seen, and now Riot Games has revealed the metrics behind the event, which dwarfs even Overwatch and Fortnite’s biggest days.

Worlds is the pinnacle of the competitive calendar year for LoL, with the record-breaking event bringing together the best 24 teams from over a dozen regions around the world to duke it out for the game’s grand prize — the Summoner’s Cup.

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This year, Chinese kings FunPlus Phoenix proved victorious, battling through a field that included super teams like G2 Esports, Faker’s SK Telecom T1, and defending world champs Invictus Gaming to cement their place in the halls of LoL history.

Riot Games
Riot Games
FunPlus Phoenix became the second Chinese team to lift the Summoner's Cup at Worlds.

As it turns out, the global event also penned its own pages in the history books at the same time, clocking up some of the biggest viewership numbers ever seen as the closely-contested tournament played out across Europe.

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According to new data released by Riot Games on December 17, the tournament hit a lofty peak of 44 million concurrent viewers during the championship, as FPX dealt a swift 3–0 defeat to European darlings G2 during the Paris finale.

Notably, Riot’s premier event recorded a record-breaking 21.8 million Average Minute Audience (AMA) throughout the month-long tournament, which dwarfs the Overwatch League’s grand final numbers of 1.12m by more than 20 times.

Riot Games
Riot Games
The Worlds final between FPX and G2 was watched by a record amount of fans from around the world.

While Worlds and the OWL final duked it out in AMA metrics, which Blizzard and Riot have both adopted to better represent their advertisement space to potential suitors, the LoL event also matched up well to other 2019 esports events.

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Counter-Strike’s most recent Major, hosted by StarLadder in Berlin, racked up 45.2m hours watched for an average of 350k viewers, according to EsportsCharts, while Fortnite’s inaugural World Cup saw 22.7m hours watched by 1.1m average viewers.

In comparison, LoL’s year-end event dialled in at a final record of more than one billion hours of action consumed by fans, according to Riot’s report. The previously mentioned 44m concurrent viewers peak also propped up the stats.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PswnONyX23I

While it seems like League is far outpacing the rest of the esports scene — only Dota 2’s The International 9 comes close with 88.8m hours watched, and 725k average viewers — these numbers recorded by Riot are global statistics, including China.

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LoL’s western audience (137.8m hours watched, 4m peak viewers, 1m average viewers) is closer to their contenders, but still above the record. The difference also speaks volumes for the strength of Riot’s international audience.

Riot Games
Riot Games
Riot's World Championship has become an international spectacle for fans and gamers around the world.

With League of Legends, and esports as a whole, growing every year, it will be interesting to see if 2020 will hold any more record-breaking tournaments.

CSGO will have first bite of the apple with it’s newly-announced Brazilian Major, Fortnite’s second World Cup, LoL’s 2020 Worlds in China, and Dota’s TI10 in Stockholm could all put their hand up for some of the biggest of the year as well.

There’s also Activision’s two contenders in the OWL and the new Call of Duty League, both of which are set for ‘homestand’ formats next year. Whether that will boost interest remains to be seen, but both are well and truly contenders, for now.