According to data released by Newzoo’s Game Streaming Tracker, League of Legends saw a 22% year-on-year increase in Twitch and YouTube viewership in the first six months of 2019. Worlds 2019 also showed growth, with a 40% year-on-year increase in viewership hours and a 44% increase in average concurrent viewership at all stages of the competition. The average growth of concurrent viewership from 2017 to 2018 was 20%.
Since its inception in 2009, League of Legends has become the most-watched game on Twitch and YouTube with nearly 116 million total hours watched. The footprint that League of Legends is leaving in the esports gaming community is noticeably growing and as new teams bring more identities to the league, it will only continue to add interest to the league.
Though there could be a number of reasons that impacted the increase in viewership, it’s likely that the attendance of two European teams and one American team in the semifinals could have had something to do with it.
According to Newzoo’s data, average concurrent viewership increases each game during best-of matches due to the stakes that each subsequent match brings with it. With the LEC restructuring is playoff format, it’s likely that a new system proved to be effective, at least in terms of viewership.
Only time will tell whether or not other leagues follow suit with changes to their playoff formats, and fans will have to wait and see what the 2020 championship will look like, but it’s increasingly clear that format innovation is one way for esports leagues to experiment with new ways to increase exposure for everyone involved and deliver fans the highest quality content as possible.