League of Legends is the most popular online game and the biggest esports discipline in the world. Riot has a huge influence over the whole esports because of the huge player and viewer base, that is why one the main goal of any esports analytical service is to monitor trends of League of Legends. We compared spring and summer seasons of League of Legends to reveal success and failures of Riot for the last 6 months.
Traditionally, The Old World value stability over everything, and esports has been no exception. Europe region can boast with the most minor changes in viewer base compare to other regions. Amount of fans went a little bit down at summer compare to spring, but it is not fatal. The most popular teams were G2 and Fnatic. Match between G2 and Fnatic had to collect many viewers, but no, it didn’t. The main reason that they met each other in the first week of the tournament. If this match was held later it would collect much more audience. Bright heroes of the spring was Unicorns of Love, thus it was the most popular team after G2 and Fnatic. Young stars of the summer was team Misfists because they took the first place in their group and reached the Grand Final, but unfortunately miracle didn’t happen — G2 won the tournament.
North America region surprised us with the huge fall of viewers — in decreased by over 50%! It has happened mostly because of drop of some broadcasting platform — lack of Chinese Douyutv and Korean Afreecatv greatly decreased amount of viewers.
Also, we could observe some shocking moments and trends. For example, one of the most popular organizations in North America, Cloud9, didn’t appear in the list of the most popular matches of the tournament. Team SoloMid confidently holds the position of the strongest and most popular team. EnvyUS and Dignitas demonstrated positive growth, especially the young organization Immortals, whose players beat everyone in the group stage and reached the grand final, where they have defeated with Team SoloMid.
North America and Europe demonstrated obvious trends, like popular and bright teams gather the most viewers among all participants. In the the same time if team has a long history and won any big tournaments before, it gathers even more audience. Examples - G2 and Team SoloMid.
CSI region is the only one in the whole world where Dota 2 is more popular than League of Legends, that is why field office of Riot didn’t count on popularity of their broadcasts and tournaments. In the same time we can observe how Continental League (LCL) becomes more and more popular with each season. Riot has a huge experience in marketing, they know how to spread news, how to contact with news websites, they bought much advertisement anywhere they could. In the same time we can see that there are many viewers only at the Grand Finals, while regularly matches from group stage till semifinals there were much less viewers. It means that League of Legends still doesn’t have stable audience. Riot need much work to do to become important and big esports discipline in CIS.
If you look at the viewer statistics of Korea's tournaments, you might think that there is playing only one team — SK Telecom T1, because only matches of this team are in the top by the amount of spectators. This team is a three-time overall and two-time in the row world champions, and, moreover, team has the most famous player in the world — Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok. The amount of viewers in Korean esports is invariable — the amount of Chinese has decreased, but this is not critical.
Esports scene of Southeast Asia has always attracted the attention of the world community because there are a huge amount of bright personalities and teams, which have their own unique playstyle on each discipline. But what is the most important — this region has a huge fanbase and a lot of viewers. The Garena Premiere League (GPL) is a unique league. Six teams from six countries take part in it to find out the strongest team in this region. The number of spectators at summer increased by 50% compared to spring even without Chinese audience! This region has a great future in esports, that is for sure.
The biggest fall of viewer base had happened in the unique region, that includes Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Spring league, organized by Garena, was very popular among viewers. Sadly, but summer league couldn’t repeat brilliant predecessor’s achievements.It has happened primarily because the Chinese streaming portal Douyu didn’t host the tournament on its service.
China is well-known for a its huge viewer base. Celestial Empire has two esports LoL leagues - LPL and LSPL. LPL is the first division, with the most strong and famous teams of Chinese esports. There was a great change at summer compared to spring — the number of viewers increased by almost 30%. It is strange for one reason — amount of streaming websites who broadcasted the tournament reduced at sumer. The most populars teams are the same: EDward Gaming and Royal Never Give Up. Probably, the fact that teams met each other at finals strongly influenced the phenomenal amount of viewers at the last day of the tournament.
LSPL is the tournament league of the second division, thus fans can observe new teams and young players every season. Traditionally, this tournament is much less popular than LPL, but last summer season was incredibly successful for LSPL. Spring tournament didn’t even reached 900.000 of viewers, while at summer during the playoffs number of viewers exceeded 3.000.000. Vici Gaming demonstrated an incredible performance throught the tournament, thus this team earned the love of the audience.
It is important to pay attention to individuals events, specific tournaments if we compare seasons in League of Legends. We compared the biggest events of spring and summer — 2017 Mid-Season Invitational which took place at May, and Rift Rivals Red, which was held at July. The summer tournament gathered much more audience in Asia, while 2017 Mid-Season Invitational appeared to be extremely popular in Europe and America.
Rift Rivals Red is a tournament from the Rift Rivals series, the essence of which is that the best teams of some regions are mixed in one league, where they play tirelessly with each other, thereby trying to find out which region is the strongest. For example, Europe and North America fought each other in Rift Rivals Blue. But the true massacre happened at Rift Rivals Red between Korea, China and Taiwan. The most popular teams in the world like SK Telecom T1 and EDward Gaming were involved into it. This fact accentuated the general attention of Asian fans at this tournament. Asian audience is much bigger compare to the west one. That is why Rift Rivals Red were watched with so many people.
At the same time teams from the whole world participated at 2017 Mid-Season Invitational. SK Telecom T1 took part in this tournament, but apart from them there were a huge amount of Western teams, they are not interest for Asian audience. G2 and Team SoloMid collect stadiums of viewers in their native region, but hearts of fans from China and Korea do not belong to them. On the other hand, 2017 Mid-Season Invitational gathered a huge amount of viewers from Europe and America.
Riot methodically improves their game for both ordinary players and professionals. Esports growth rapidly, often chaotically, because there are still few esports experts in the world. Only honest statistics helps to separate the truth from lies, which is why we, Esports Charts team, decided to work with statistical data. We are going to release more materials like this, so sign up for us!