Viewership for the 2022 League of Legends World Championship Group Stage has dropped almost 40% from last year’s event, according to data released by Esports Charts.
The viewership decrease for the Group Stage, which took place in New York and concluded on October 16th, has been largely attributed to inconvenient time zones for Asian and European fans.
The Group Stage’s concurrent viewership peaked at 1.39m during a match between T1 and Fnatic on Day 2. By comparison, 2021’s Group Stage peaked at 2.23m, meaning this year saw a 38% drop.
This stage of the 2022 World Championship has thus far drawn 46.5m hours watched, with average viewership reaching 826,000 — decreases of 41% and 37%, respectively.
The drastic viewership decrease thus far over last year’s World Championship — the most prestigious event in the League of Legends esports calendar — can largely be attributed to the event’s location.
The Group Stages were held in the early afternoon in New York City, US, which has a 12 hour time difference with Beijing, China and 13 hour time difference with South Korea. There is also a six hour time difference with most of Europe.
This was compounded by the fact that all but one of the eight teams that made Playoffs were Asian — Rogue’s mixed European roster was the exception.
However, it is important to note that Esports Charts does not record viewership statistics from Chinese — one of the biggest League of Legends markets — viewership platforms due to the difficulty obtaining reliable viewership data from the country.
According to Esports Charts, the viewership drop-off was naturally most visible on the Korean-language broadcast, which the statistics provider says shed 63% of its viewership compared to last year. The Portuguese stream also decreased by 42%, Esports Charts said.
By contrast, the English-language stream only saw a 5% decrease.
The Playoffs stage of the 2022 World Championship will play out from October 21st-November 6th, also in New York at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden. The tournament then moves to State Farm Arena in Atlanta, before moving to the Chase Center in San Francisco for the Grand Final.
The 2021 World Championship reached a peak viewership of over 4m, making it the most popular League of Legends event ever recorded by Esports Charts.