LEC sees peak viewership decline, average viewership increase amid new format

27 February 2023


2023 LEC Winter Finals
Image credit: Michal Konkol/Riot Games

League of Legends’ inaugural LEC Winter Split has officially concluded, with the competition securing a peak viewership of 572,257, the second-lowest LEC split figure.

Despite the decrease in peak viewership, the competition recorded higher average viewership compared to the LEC 2022 Spring Split. 

The only split with a lower peak viewership figure, according to esports data platform Esports Charts, was the competition’s inaugural LEC Spring Split in 2019, garnering 477,666. Esports Charts data does not include Chinese viewership figures due to the difficulty of obtaining that data.

For the first time, the LEC Winter Split was the first of three splits in League of Legends’ European 2023 season, after the league underwent a series of format and ecosystem changes. It’s worth noting that given the shift from two to three splits, its Winter competition concluded earlier than last year’s 2022 Spring Split (February instead of April).

When comparing the Winter competitions to Spring 2022, whilst peak viewership is significantly lower — 572,257 compared to 723,061 — this year’s Split actually recorded a higher average viewership, highlighting how the shorter duration and format changes have retained viewers. Overall, LEC Winter 2023 recorded an average viewership of 280,218 compared to Spring 2022’s 270,749.

The only LEC Spring split to record higher average viewership was in 2021, securing an impressive figure of 309,951. It is worth noting that traditionally, LEC’s Spring Split has an air time of over 130 hours; meanwhile, LEC Winter 2023 recorded around 95 hours.

Maximilian Peter Schmidt, Riot Games’ Director of League of Legends Esports in EMEA, took to Twitter over the weekend to highlight the LEC Winter Split’s viewership successes. In the series of tweets, he stated that the most important viewership metrics are AMA (average minute audience) and total hours watched, the former of which Schmidt claims has increased ~40% compared to Spring 2019.

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The most popular match in the LEC Winter Split was the finals between G2 Esports and MAD Lions, with G2 coming out victorious. Overall, MAD Lions matches secured 7.8m hours watched, with KOI a notable runner-up with 7.6m hours watched. 

The popularity of Ibai’s Spanish esports organisation was also highlighted when looking at average viewers, with KOI securing an average viewership of 343,500 — only G2 Esports (350,200) secured a higher figure. 

Spanish viewership played a major part in the LEC Winter Split’s popularity, with Spanish-speaking platforms reaching a peak viewership of 178,046 at one point in the competition. 

Tom Daniels
Tom has been part of Esports Insider's team since October 2020 and is currently the platform's Editor. When not playing Football Manager, he enjoys reporting on the mobile esports scene as well as the betting sector.