The most viewed esports events of 2023

20 December 2023


Most viewed esports events 2023

Over the last 12 months, major esports titles have hosted some of the biggest events that the industry has ever seen.

In 2023, four esports events have managed to break into Esports Charts’ all-time peak viewership top 10. This includes crowning a new most popular esports event ever — excluding Chinese viewership figures. So, which titles caught the viewers’ attention the most?

As the year comes to an end, Esports Insider details the top 10 highest-viewed esports events of 2023. All information is courtesy of Esports Charts.

ESI Lisbon 2024

10. LCK Spring 2023

After missing out on last year’s list, the LCK Spring Split 2023 is the 10th most popular esports event of 2023. Garnering a peak viewership of 1.47m across its near 300-hour air time, the League of Legends event was ultimately won by multinational esports organisation Gen.G, beating Korean powerhouse T1.

A big driving factor in the Korean league’s success was its international appeal with its English language and Vietnamese language platforms performing incredibly well. Alongside a Korean language peak viewership of 607 914, the two other languages recorded figures of 528.508 and 306,581 respectively. The event also performed well across multiple platforms such as YouTube (508,892 peak viewers), Twitch (366,952 peak viewers), Naver Esports (324,593 peak viewers) and Afreeca TV (284,425 peak viewers).

9. Paris Major 2023 Paris Major
Image credit: Michal Konkol, BLAST

Representing Counter-Strike in this list is the franchises’ final ever CS:GO Major. Overall, the Paris Major 2023 recorded a peak viewership of 1.53m and an average viewership of 507,688. Whilst this did not beat last year’s most popular Counter-Strike event — PGL Major Antwerp (2.1m peak viewers) — BLAST’s first Major was the third most popular CS:GO event ever.

Held in France, it was only fitting that the event was one by French side Team Vitality. However, interestingly, it was Gamer Legion and FaZe Clan that recorded more overall hours watched than the eventual victors — 10.9m and 10.7m respectively compared to Team Vitality’s 10.3m. In terms of average viewers though the French organisation claimed the top spot with 666,050.

Twitch is still seemingly the most popular platform for Counter-Strike fans with the platform recording a peak viewership of over 1.1m compared to YouTube’s 254,000. It is worth noting that the transition from CS:GO to CS2 did have a major impact on the scene’s event schedule with only one Major taking place this year as opposed to two. 

8. LCK Summer 2023

LCK Summer 2023
Image credit: LCK, via X (@LCK)

The LCK is back for a second entry into this year’s viewership top 10 with LCK Summer Split 2023 topping its previous edition by recording a peak viewership of 1.53m. To be more exact, the LCK beat the Major by only five viewers, according to Esports Charts (1,528,729 compared to 1,528,724).

Similarly to the last split, Gen.G once again walked out as the victor against T1. However, it is worth noting that T1’s popularity is a defining factor in the league’s viewership with the organisation garnering the most hours watched and average viewers throughout both Summer and Spring 2023. One last observation is the growth in YouTube viewership compared to Spring, with the platform generating a peak viewership figure of 957,459 — nearly 450,000 more than the previous edition. 

If the popularity of the LCK isn’t highlighted enough, it’s worth noting that both the 2023 Spring and Summer editions are the most popular non-international League of Legends events ever.

7. MPL Indonesia Season 11

Claiming seventh place is the popular mobile esports title, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, with MPL Indonesia Season 11 (This might not be the last time you see Mobile Legends mentioned). 

The game’s franchised Indonesian league recorded a peak viewership figure of 1.89m, surprisingly making it only the 13th most-popular MLBB event of all time. Despite its impressive peak viewership, MPL Indonesia’s first season of the year is actually down in viewership compared to last year, where it garnered 2.84m viewers in Season 9. To be fair, MPL Indonesia Season 9 was the second-highest-viewed esports event of 2022. 

The mobile MOBA competition was won by ONIC Esports, with the SEA organisation also claiming the title of most popular competitor when it came to average viewers (662,100).

6. MPL Indonesia Season 12

MPL Indonesia Season 12
Image credit: MPL Indonesia, via X (@mplidofficial)

Mobile Legends’ second MPL Indonesia season of 2023 has also made it into the viewership chart. MPL Indonesia Season 2 did manage to surpass over 2m peak viewers, recording 2.1m alongside an impressive average viewership of 520,262.

What makes this Season stand out compared to other esports leagues though is that the competition managed to record over 100m hours watched (116.7m to be exact). Whilst this was helped by the league’s over 220-hour air time, it is still an incredible feat that only seven esports events have ever been able to accomplish. It is the only domestic league to achieve this accomplishment. 

Similar to last season, the competition was once again won by ONIC Esports.

5. Mid-Season Invitational 2023

LoL MSI worlds 23 trophy
The trophy at MSI London 2023. Image credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

The remaining most-viewed esports events of 2023 are now cross-regional competitions and kicking off the top five is League of Legends’ 2023 Mid-Season Invitational (MSI). Hosted in London, England MSI 2023 secured a peak viewership of just under 2.3m, making it the most popular edition to date by over 100,000 viewers.

The event was won by Chinese esports organisation JD Gaming, beating regional rival 

Bilibili Gaming. Given that Chinese viewership isn’t recorded by Esports Charts, due to difficulties obtaining this data, it is incredibly likely that viewership for this event far exceeds this figure. However, even outside of China, the tournament managed to garner impressive figures across many languages. This includes Korean (626,403 peak viewers), English (492,018),  Vietnamese (490,565 peak viewers) and Portuguese (306,765 peak viewers) platforms. 

League of Legends will once again head back to the UK in 2024 with London hosting next year’s World Finals.

4. MLBB Southeast Asia Cup 2023

sea cup mlbb
Image credit: Moonton

Finishing fourth is Mobile Legends’ own mid-calender major event, the 2023 Southeast Asia Cup. The event recorded a peak viewership of 3.65m, alongside 659,400 average viewers and over 40.5m hours watched throughout its 61-hour air time. 
MLBB’s SEA Cup 2023 is the 10th most popular esports event of all time and continues to showcase the dominance of the mobile esports goliath. Continuing the organisation’s winning streak, the event was won by ONIC Esports, beating Filipino franchise Blacklist International.

The event generated decent viewership numbers on TikTok, with the platform peaking at 672,284 viewers. Moreover, given that the event was hosted in Cambodia, MLBB broke viewership records for the region with its Khmer language broadcast reaching 130,000 peak viewers.

3. M4 World Championship

Placing on the medal podium is Mobile Legends’ M4 World Championship, which recorded a peak viewership of 4.27m.

The tournament’s viewership momentum is unprecedented compared to other mobile titles, at least those outside of China. All of Mobile Legends’ last four World Championships have recorded over 3m peak viewers. 

Whilst this viewership figure is impressive, the tournament’s viewership could have perhaps been higher if popular esports organisation RRQ Hoshi had made it to the final. In fact, the most popular match-up of the tournament was the upper-bracket semi-final clash between RRQ Hoshi and eventual runners-up Blacklist International. 

Still, this isn’t saying that M4’s victors ECHO weren’t popular. The MPL Philippines representative featured in three of the top five most popular match-ups. Moreover, the grand finals still recorded over 3m peak viewers. Overall, M4 ended with an average viewership of 806,660 and over 80m hours watched.

2. M5 World Championship

M5 World Championship Mobile Legends Bang Bang
Image credit: Moonton Games

It seems that having two world championships in one year didn’t affect Mobile Legends in terms of viewership with the M5 World Championship taking the runner-up spot. The year-ending event, which only concluded in early December, recorded a peak viewership of just over 5m, making it the game’s most popular esports event. 

Unlike the M4 World Championship, this figure was bolstered by the event’s grand final between Philippines esports organisation AP.Bren and Indonesian giant ONIC Esports. In total, the event garnered an average viewership of 475,259 and 72.2m hours watched. The lower average viewership figure compared to M4 is likely attributed to the fact that the competition launched a wild-card stage for the first time. 

AP.Bren, previously known as Bren Esports, claimed its second Mobile Legends world championship. However, it was ONIC Esports that was the event’s most popular team, both in terms of hours watched (31.1m) and average viewers (1.5m).

1. League of Legends World Championship 2023

Image of League of Legends Summoners Cup with blue jewels
Image credit: Riot Games

The king of competitive esports retains its place at the top of Esports Charts’ viewership list. Not only that though, with a remarkable peak viewership of 6.4m, Worlds 2023 is the most-popular esports event of all time

League of Legends has always been one of the more popular esports titles, largely due to its fanbases across both Western and Eastern regions. Still, the growth of LoL’s season-ending event is impressive considering that Worlds 2016 recorded 1.55m viewers (which was the most popular esports tournament of that year). 

The 2023 League of Legends World Championship, which was won by T1, beat the previous recorded holder (Free Fire World Series 2021 Singapore) by nearly 1m peak viewers. Similarly to MPL Indonesia Season 12, the event also recorded over 100m hours watched across its 116-hour air time. Despite breaking the peak viewership record, the record holder for most hours watched is still last year’s League of Legends World Championship, which garnered 174.83m.

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.