Riot Games has announced record-breaking viewership for the 2019 League of Legends World Championship, making it the most-watched LoL esports event in history.
The Worlds 2019 final won by FunPlus Phoenix garnered an Average Minute Audience (AMA) of 21.8m – up from 19.6m in 2018 – and 44m peak concurrent viewers.
Overall, during Worlds 2019, more than 1bn hours were watched over the course of the five-week event which took place in Berlin, Madrid and Paris. Some 120 games took place altogether.
The finals were broadcast in 16 languages and across more than 20 platforms.
Additionally, the event featured the most diverse meta of any previous World Championship with with 99 champions picked or banned.
Worlds also drew big attention on social media with an image of LoL character band True Damage’s trip to the event receiving more than 500,000 likes on Instagram. #Worlds2019 trended as the number one hashtag on Twitter and reached the top of Reddit and Weibo.
In addition, analyst Newzoo reports that LoL esports viewership is rising. Across Twitch and YouTube, Worlds 2019 total viewership hours rose 40% and average concurrent viewership (ACV) increased 44% at all stages of the competition. To put this in perspective, the growth in ACV from the 2017 to 2018 edition was 20%.
Developer Riot Games said that while the World Championship is the peak of competitive League of Legends, it also highlighted the importance of smaller, regional tournaments providing a platform for players to reach the next level, like the UKLC, which has just changed ownership from LVP to DreamHack.
In 2019, 36 different cities hosted more than 60 unique events in League of Legends esports.
Twitch viewership rose in the European LEC too. This graph represents average concurrent Twitch viewership for the LEC Playoffs year-on-year (in UTC time). The light green line is 2019 viewer numbers and the dark green line represents 2018 numbers:
On average, 517,018 fans watched the 2019 LEC Summer Finals at the same time (in terms of average minute audience), compared with 355,568 fans in 2018. This represents growth of 45.4%.
Riot said in a press release: “Worlds is a celebration of the best players and of our fans, and it wouldn’t be possible without you. A huge thank you to our pros and coaches for putting in the practice hours and giving us epic performances… to our fans who traveled to Berlin, Madrid, or Paris to root for their favorite teams… to our viewers that cheered from afar… and to everyone that plays a role in League of Legends Esports.
“We can’t wait to celebrate with you in China next year for our 10th World Championship.”
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.