The 2023 LEC Summer Split was the least viewed LEC Split ever. Why?

LEC Summer Split 2023
Photo credit: Michal Konkol/Riot Games

League of Legends’ LEC has recorded its lowest-ever peak viewership figure for a split, with the 2023 Summer Split garnering just over 343,500 peak viewers. 

According to Esports Charts, the LEC Summer Split did fare relatively better in terms of average viewership, with the League of Legends EMEA competition recording 172,500 viewers. This is still however a decrease from Summer 2022 (211,700) and Spring 2023 (219,000).

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Previously the competition’s least popular split was LEC Spring 2019, which garnered a peak figure of 477,600.

Perhaps surprisingly, the most popular match-up of the 2023 Summer Split was not a playoff match; KOI vs MAD Lions topped the table during its week one day three clash, reinforcing the influence Spanish teams have over viewership in the LEC. The Summer Split finals between EXCEL Esports and G2 Esports, which was won by G2, was the third most popular match this season.

There are a few possible reasons why LEC’s peak viewership has significantly dropped this split. Due to the LEC’s new format introduced this year, the competition now culminates in a season final, where an LEC champion will be crowned and World Championship qualification slots are distributed.

As a result, the Summer Split (and LEC’s Spring and Winter competitions) is utilised for teams to gain qualification to the season finals. Due to this format shift, the six teams competing in the season finals had already been decided prior to the separate LEC Summer Split finals, with bragging rights of being a split champion the only thing on the line.

Another factor for the LEC’s Summer viewership drop could be the absence of popular Spanish organisation KOI in the latter stage of the event. Despite not qualifying for the playoff bracket this split, KOI still recorded the highest average viewership of any LEC competitor, recording around 223,200 average viewers. 

Throughout the entirety of the LEC’s newly formatted season, the competition has garnered lower peak viewership. However, average viewership has remained relatively stable compared to last year, despite the competition having more competitive splits and the introduction of a season finals. For example, Spring 2022’s average viewership was  270,700 compared to Spring 2023’s 219,000 figure. 

The true test of the LEC 2023 season will be the LEC Season Finals. The event will also be held outside of Riot Games’ Berlin Studio for the first time this year, with its culmination taking place at the Sud de France Arena in Paris, France

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.