On the latest episode of Dexerto’s League of Legends show, ‘The Jungle’, Christian ‘IWDominate’ Rivera and Christopher ‘Montecristo’ Mykkles pulled no punches when discussing the continuing decline in the LCS’s viewership, claiming “people are just sick of the games being garbage”.
The LCS’s viewership and popularity have been a hotly-contested issue in the past few years of competitive League of Legends. According to data from Esports Charts, the region’s viewership has been on a consistent decline since 2018, and fans and pundits alike can’t seem to settle on an explanation.
Viewership comparison of 1st week LCS Summer 2020-2021.
TOP matches:@TSM vs @TeamLiquidLoL@Cloud9 vs @TeamLiquidLoL
More #LCS Summer 2021 stats👇https://t.co/HmolvrrQ9Y pic.twitter.com/5l0hMYr8r3
— Esports Charts 🇺🇦 (@EsportsCharts) June 8, 2021
On the latest episode of ‘The Jungle’, Dexerto’s flagship League of Legends show, IWDominate and Montecristo offered their own perspectives on the vanishing interest in the LCS. In their opinion, games simply are not interesting enough to attract global attention.
No hope for NA internationally
(Topic starts at 1:30)
“I think people are sick of the games being garbage,” explained MonteCristo. “I think people are sick of no real international results or hope anymore… the most we could expect on a very good year is a semi-final run.”
North America’s most recent run of success at an international tournament was in 2018, when Cloud9 made it to the semi-finals of the World Championships for the first time in the org’s history. It was the region’s first and only top-four finish at a World Championship since Season 1.
Team Liquid made a similarly successful run at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational, where they made it to the final before losing 3-0 to Europe’s G2 Esports. Since that fated 2019 run, no North American team has made it further than the quarter-finals at an international event.
Competition from other leagues
Part of the waning interest in the LCS can also be attributed to the increasing popularity of other regions, explained MonteCristo.
“The LEC is much more fun to watch from a production standpoint and it’s much more fun to watch from a gameplay standpoint,” he explained. “Then obviously tons of people watch the LCK as well, which has much better gameplay and a good production that they keep upgrading. It’s hard to justify watching the LCS.”
IWDominate explained how community excuses around excessive import talent in the LCS weren’t a valid explanation for declining viewership. “The teams that are all NA players don’t get as much hype, so I actually don’t think people care about watching North American players as much as they claim.”
Not only does the LCS have the other major regions to compete with, but now it also has to contend with regional leagues and minor regions, whose popularity is growing year on year. In the French regional league, or LFL, fan-favorite team Karmine Corp bring in an average of 136,600 viewers, higher than the average viewership of any team in the LCS.
In the CBLoL, the Brazilian national league, peak viewership for Spring 2022 sits at 262,608 – over 30,000 higher than the LCS’s peak of 230,744.
Founded in 2013, the LCS is one of League esports’ historical competitions. It has been home over the years to some of the best players in the game, yet it continues to lose its shine – something Riot Games will surely seek to address before it’s too late.