Professional esports leagues experiencing large viewership growth

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Posted on: April 27, 2020 9:43 pm EDT

With shelter in place orders in effect and traditional sports suspended throughout much of the world, people are turning to esports leagues for entertainment in record numbers. As a result, professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends competitions have experienced record-breaking viewership this month.

The ESL Pro League, which is a Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CS:GO) professional esports league with 24 teams, had its most successful season in the history of the competition. 489,120 concurrent viewers watched the ESL Pro League’s 11th season, which took place from March 16th to April 12th. The ESL Pro League also had a 113.2% increase in total hours watched compared to season 10. The average minute audience hit 164,494, which represents a 215.5% jump over the previous season.

The League of Legends European Championship shattered its record for peak concurrent viewership. 476,599 took in the week three match between Fnatic and G2 Esports, who eventually met in the finals. The event was the most-watched regular season match in the history of the League of Legends European Championship. Just like the ESL Pro League, the League of Legends European Championship average minute audience was up considerably compared to last year with a 10% increase.

This year’s esports playoff numbers are particularly dramatic, with Esports Charts recently noting that the League of Legends Champions Korea championship match had a whopping 1,074,561 peak concurrent viewers as T1 swept Gen.g on route to a ninth League of Legends Champions Korea title.

Back in Europe, the League of Legends European Championship had a peak of 807,033 viewers as G2 and Fnatic battled in the finals. When factoring in all platforms, the average minute audience reached 694,266. LEC noted that viewers took in 10,622,283 hours throughout the playoffs, which is up 71.35% over 2019. It remains to be seen whether these trends will continue when the pandemic runs its course.