Worlds 2023 hits major viewership milestone on Play-In Day 1

Luís Mira

The 2023 LoL World Championship has gotten off to a solid start as the tournament reached an important viewership milestone during the first day, despite the absence of teams from major regions.

During the second match of the day, pitting LOUD against GAM Esports, over one million viewers were tuned in at one point, according to data firm Esports Charts.

The peak of 1,031,004 viewers is 8 percent lower than that set during the first day of Worlds 2022. However, it’s important to point out that, with the recent changes to the Worlds format, most of the major region teams now skip the Play-In stage. (The exception is Team BDS, who came through the Worlds Qualifying Series).

Last year, the day-one peak of 1,122,715 viewers was reached during the match between Fnatic and Evil Geniuses, an NA vs EU battle that rekindled an old rivalry between the two regions.

Compared to last year’s first day, average viewership was down 15 percent to 705,119, while the number of hours watched decreased by 66 percent. This sharp decline is not a surprise, though, as there were eight best-of-one games during the first day of Play-Ins in 2022, compared to just two Bo3 series this year, neither of which even went the full distance.

The English-language streams had a peak of 257,820 viewers, down 45 percent from last year’s 469,559 peak during day one. This is explained by the absence of teams from Europe, North America and South Korea and by the fact that the tournament is being held outside prime time viewing hours for the European and North American markets due to the time zone difference.

At the same time, Riot has put together an expanded co-streaming program for Worlds 2023, providing fans with many alternative viewing options in multiple languages.

Until the Swiss Stage starts on October 19, the majority of the viewership is bound to come from non-English-speaking channels. But with popular teams like T1, G2 and Fnatic waiting in the wings, the fact that Worlds 2023 has already cracked one million concurrent viewers is a good sign for the tournament as it looks to surpass last year’s stunning peak of 5 million concurrent viewers.