MSI 2023 nearly breaks 1 million viewers on day one thanks to co-streaming
The 2023 Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) looks on course to shatter the event series’ viewership record after almost cracking 1 million concurrent viewers on the first day of the tournament.
During the second match of the day, pitting G2 Esports against LOUD, 971,646 viewers were tuned in to the official broadcast or one of the multiple alternative streaming options that are available, according to Esports Charts. This is a 26 percent increase from the peak viewership of over 723,000 people during the first day of MSI 2022.
The first day of the tournament averaged 635,156 viewers, up 17 percent from MSI 2022’s opening day.
The increase in both metrics is especially relevant if one takes into account that some of the bigger teams, T1 and Gen.G, will only enter the fray in the bracket stage following the format changes introduced by Riot for 2023’s international events. At MSI 2022, every team started from the group stage, with T1, the most popular team in the world, beating Saigon Buffalo on the opening day of the event.
The fact that MSI 2023 nearly cracked 1 million concurrent viewers on day one comes with little surprise after Riot Games decided to allow co-streaming for the first time in the event’s history. Community casters made up 41 percent of day one’s peak viewership.
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Gustavo ‘Baiano’ Gomes, a retired Brazilian player, had over 125,000 viewers on his stream, overtaking the official Riot Games Twitch channel at one point. Other streamers, like Ibai Llanos, Marc ‘Caedrel’ Lamont and Felipe ‘Yoda’ Noronha, also had tens of thousands of viewers tuned in, providing an alternative experience to the official broadcast.
Riot Games has acknowledged the importance of co-streaming to counter the trend of declining viewership in esports, which has affected even legacy competitions in multiple titles. (The recent LCS Spring final had the lowest peak viewership since Esports Charts began collecting data for the league, in 2017.) Earlier this year, Valorant content creator Tarik ‘tarik’ Celik’s channel often outdid VCT LOCK//IN’s official broadcast. He ended the tournament with 7 million hours watched, the highest for the competition, according to Esports Charts.
MSI 2023 will continue on May 3 with Bilibili Gaming taking on Rainbow7, followed by the match between Golden Guardians and GAM Esports.