With League of Legends entering a new season and PUBG Mobile’s Global Championship kicking off 2022 with a bang, how has the esports scene performed viewership wise so far?
Esports Insider, in collaboration with Esports Charts, delves into the world of esports viewership to highlight what audiences are currently watching and break down emerging viewership trends.
LCK tops the charts
Claiming first on Esports Charts’ viewership table is the LCK, League of Legends’ top-flight Korean league. In January, the tournament recorded a peak viewership of 759,510 during T1 vs DWG KIA.
Surprisingly this is down from January 2021’s peak viewership of 802,668 — which was also featuring T1 vs DWG — despite the league only finishing third on last year’s January list. The figure from January 2021 was in fact LCK Spring’s peak viewership for the entire competition, with the final recording a lower viewership figure.
As of this writing, LCK Spring 2022 has currently garnered an average viewership of 258,554 which is higher than 2021 Summer (205,176) and Spring (232,180). Whilst this does highlight consistent growth across all games, it’s important to note that LCK Spring 2022 has a small sample size right now. The split has only recorded 90 hours of game time compared to over 290 hours that was recorded during Summer and Spring 2021.
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It’ll be intriguing to keep an eye on whether the LCK can maintain a higher consistent viewership and whether it’ll be able to topple LCK 2021 Spring’s peak figure.
Also making Esports Charts’ list was the LEC, League of Legends’ European competition, which landed 4th on January’s viewership chart. Whilst recording a peak viewership of 527,567, the competition garnered an English-language peak figure of over 300,000, making it the highest viewed esports tournament for that category this month.
Second place for that category was surprisingly APEX Legends’ ALGS: 2022 Split 1 Playoffs North America which recorded an English-language peak viewership of 245,302. In total, the tournament became the most-watched Apex Legends esports event of all time with over 320,000 peak viewers.
PUBG Mobile Global Championship loses viewers
Receiving a peak viewership of 646,633 was PUBG Mobile’s Global Championship 2021 Finals, placing the event second on Esports Charts’ list.
While the tournament’s Global Championship finished in the same place as last year’s table, it’s worth noting the huge decrease in viewership over its inaugural season. In January 2021, the Global Championship Season 0 recorded over 1.4m peak viewers. This means that 2022’s peak viewership figure was more than half of last year’s debut.
Perhaps one reason for the event’s drop in figures — both for peak and average viewership — could be equated to the absence of Indonesian teams in the finals. According to Esports Charts, last year’s Global Championship saw Indonesian spectators account for over 1m peak viewers (without NimoTV figures). This year, the Global Championship accounted for around 35,000 peaker viewers from Indonesian broadcasts.
Nevertheless, it’ll be interesting to keep an eye on PUBG Mobile’s viewership throughout 2022.
BLAST Premier continues 2021 momentum
Topping the January peak viewership chart for Russian audiences was BLAST Premier Spring 2022, recording a figure of 170,661 and a total peak viewership of 542,016.
In Russia, the series edged out Dota 2’s DPC EEU 2021/22 Tour 1 Division 1, which garnered over 160,000 viewers during Team Spirit vs NAVI. Interestingly, NAVI featured in the top three Russian-viewed tournaments in January.
The viewership figure highlights consistency for BLAST Premier’s CS:GO series. Last year, the BLAST Premier Spiring 2021 recorded a peak viewership of 543,863. Despite recording a slightly lower peak figure, BLAST Premier’s 2022 Spring league saw an increase in average viewership: 262 944 compared to Spring 2021’s 198,570.
BLAST had a successful 2021, which was capped off by recording the series’ highest ever viewership during the Fall 2021 finals. Only time will tell whether the series can keep up its momentum.
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Notable standouts in January
Speaking of momentum, one ecosystem that has continued to maintain popularity is League of Legends’ European Regional League system. In particular, France and Spain’s regional competitions (LFL and LVP, respectively) showcased enthusiastic viewership figures in January.
In January, the LFL recorded a peak viewership of 221,118 during its 2022 Spring Split match-up between Karmine Corp and Solary. Meanwhile in Spain, the LVP Superliga Spring 2022 had 196,366 watching when KOI faced off against Barcelona Esports.
To put into perspective how significant these viewership figures are for the regional esports ecosystem, both these competitions recorded higher peak viewerships than the Dota 2 Champions League 2021 Season 6 (123,600) and the ongoing Rainbow Six Invitational 2022 (165,696) as of this writing.
How did other mobile titles perform last month?
Despite not holding a prominent place on Esports Charts’ viewership table, various mobile esports’ still recorded high viewership figures — most notably Free Fire and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.
The Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Women’s Invitational finished sixth in January’s peak viewership list recording an impressive figure of 392,405. As a result, the tournament became the highest viewed female esports event ever.
Finally, the Free Fire Pro League India 2021 Winter reached a peak viewership of 388,436.
What to expect from the rest of February
All eyes will be on whether Riot Games’ esports competitions will continue to gain momentum. Moreover, the commencement of VALORANT’s 2022 esports season will certainly cause some intrigue as to whether the title can maintain the momentum it gathered last year.
Questions also remain as to where CS:GO’s IEM Katowice 2022 will place, not just in terms of February’s viewership, but the title’s overall viewership.