League of Legends World Championship Final Garners 23.04 Million Viewers
LoL Esports has released numbers for its annual League of Legends World Championship Final, which took place live at Shanghai’s SAIC Motor Pudong Arena on October 31, 2020 in front of a live audience of 6,312 fans and millions more online. The much-anticipated final match featured a historic face off between Suning from China’s LPL and DAMWON Gaming from Korea’s LCK. DAWMON emerged victorious in 3 matches to 1, staving off a home turf upset from Suning and reclaiming the title for Korea after one of the most unique and challenging seasons in esports history.
The Final was broadcast in 16 languages and across 21 platforms, and kicked off with the Opening Ceremony presented by Mastercard featuring an augmented reality concert by international pop girl group K/DA and Louis Vuitton’s LED-enhanced custom trophy case, which unfolded to reveal the coveted Summoner’s Cup. The Trophy Ceremony was presented for the first time by global luxury leader Mercedes-Benz.
Riot Games works with Stream Hatchet to analyze global viewership data. This year’s Finals match saw an Average Minute Audience (AMA) of 23.04 million and 45.95 million Peak Concurrent Viewers (PCU). There were 1+ billion hours of competition watched (Live+24) over the course of the tournament. This viewership sets a new record for Worlds and is an indicator of esports’ increasing appeal.
“What the esports team at Riot Games achieved this year continues to set the standard for cultivating massive audiences in esports and entertainment,” says Eduard Montserrat, CEO of Stream Hatchet. “With the record-breaking Finals AMA of 23.04 million, Riot’s leadership within the Western esports market this year continues to boost the growth of esports’ footprint. This year, for example, esports watch time on Western streaming platforms increased by 10%, with leagues and tournaments organized by the Riot Esports team accounting for 1/3rd of the watch time.”
The 2020 World Championship, which consisted of 114 games played in Shanghai over five weeks, kicked off with the most-watched Play-Ins stage in its history. Over the course of 38 Play-In matches, fans watched 160.92 million hours of play, a 61.76% percent increase from the same period in 2019, and the AMA increased 87.18% YOY to 3.6 million, no doubt a reflection of the pent-up demand for top-tier esports competition after a season impacted by the global pandemic.
Matches were broadcast from the Shanghai Media Tech Center and featured extended reality (XR) production on a scale that had never been achieved before, using a modified version of the Unreal Engine capable of rendering mixed-reality environments at 32K resolutions and 60 frames per second in real time.
“The road to Worlds this year was full of unexpected challenges, from our pivot to a single-city tournament to navigating team travel and quarantines,” says John Needham, Global Head of Esports at Riot Games. “We’re extremely proud that we succeeded in our promise to our players and fans to put on the safest and best show possible, and thrilled that our fans responded, allowing us to post record-breaking Play-Ins viewership through the most viewed Worlds Final ever in our 10th year.”
Worlds 2020 marked the culmination of a decade of LoL Esports competition and innovation, one which ushered in a new era of LoL Esports as a leader in global sports and entertainment. Following humble beginnings at the 2011 Dreamhack conference in Sweden, Worlds has now solidified its place among the most-watched esports and sporting events in the world. LoL Esports and Worlds boast a roster of global sponsors that parallels those of the most established sports properties in the world, with industry-leading partners: Bose, Cisco, Mercedes-Benz, Spotify, Red Bull, Mastercard, OPPO, Alienware, Louis Vuitton, Axe, Secretlab, and State Farm.
The 2021 League of Legends World Championship will return to China, with host cities for a multi-city tour to be announced in early 2021.