Perhaps the biggest esport event of the year is underway as League of Legends is hosting its yearly World Championship tournament in China this year – it has already got off to a flying start, being the first big offline tournament to take place in the esports space since the start of the pandemic, but also just having a relatively exciting build up – some of the bigger questions are around whether or not despite the pandemic the event will continue to set records.
The Pick’Ems part of the game has proven to be very popular. Pick’Ems is a built-in styled fantasy league where players pick teams they feel will win and progress, correct guesses will award points, players who earn enough points can earn a number of rewards from cosmetic in-game items to out of game items too, this year players who correctly guess every result could win a brand new gaming system. This has been a great benefit for some looking to take part in some form of betting on the sport, whilst esports betting has become much more popular over the past few years there are still some that are restricted from doing so, particularly in certain US states – some players have been able to turn to third party sites for NJ online casinos for example, but as fantasy leagues typically fall under different views and has no cost of entry it is typically not an issue.
Last year was enormous for the game – the World Championship event at the end of the year boasted a high point of forty-four million concurrent viewers during the final days of the tournament, for some comparison one of the biggest sporting events of the year for more traditional sporting in the Superbowl averaged around ninety-nine million viewers – not bad going for a game that has only really started to come into its own in terms of popularity over the last five years or so on a wider scale.
As mentioned, the tournament has got off to a great start – the group stages had managed to receive peak viewership of nearly two million, with average viewership sitting around half of that at just under one million concurrent average viewers. The hours watched are a very important figure however particularly for advertisers and sponsors – across the 94 hours of air time currently broadcast, viewers have amassed nearly 90 million hours of content watched, and with the knockout stages still to take place it’s no surprise why so many are jumping at the bit to have an opportunity to be represented in an esports tournament.
The knockout stages will start within the next few days and the expectation is that numbers will really start to creep up during this period of time, with no live fans in attendance either there’s certainly an expectation that numbers will be higher than otherwise, and with viewing parties a little more limited due to lockdown methods which may also lead to higher viewership numbers too.