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Coronavirus: Esports leagues experience a huge spike in viewership

As more countries go under nationwide lockdown, more people tune-in to watch their favourite games remotely

As most of the population of the world is stuck at home due to Nationwide Lockdown measures adopted by governments around the world more people are moving towards gaming. With many opting to sit down and watch games on their devices, some of the biggest esports leagues in the world are seeing a big spike in viewership.

Photo: Riot Games

Several professional tournaments for League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have witnessed a big spike in viewership since the start of lockdown measures.

The 11th season of the ESL Pro League of CSGO which concluded on April 12th set a new record of 489,120 concurrent viewers across all platforms a new high for the CSGO league. ESL termed this season as “the most successful season in the competition’s history.” According to ESL, Season 11 saw a 215.5% increase in average-minute-audience (AMA) viewership to 164,494 for Season 11, up from 52,140 for Season 10, which concluded in late 2019. ESL also confirmed that the total hours watched were up by 113.2% compared to last year.

Similarly, the League of Legends European Championship also set a new concurrent viewers record with 476,599 people tuning in to watch a week three match between eventual finalists G2 Esports and Fnatic. The final match also hit an impressive peak of 807,033 viewers, a 76.18% higher than the previous 2020 record. The league’s average minute audience was up 10% compared to last spring and according to the LEC, this was the most-watched regular-season game in the history of LEC.

Whereas, according to an analytics firm the Korean League of Legends Championship (LCK) set a record of 1,074,561 peak concurrent viewers tuning in to watch T1 sweep Gen.g to win their ninth LCK title in the championship match.

With many live events canceled for the year, these professional gaming leagues were uniquely situated and quickly adapt to an online-only structure in order to keep going. Since then they have managed to fill the void left by the cancellation of live events, which in-turn helped these leagues in setting new viewership records.


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