Spring splits of 2021 have already started in almost every region, including Europe, North America, South Korea and Brazil. Esports Charts analyzed the viewership statistics of the four leagues in the first week of competition and compared them with the results of early 2020. As it turned out, three out of four leagues improved their performance, and which one showed negative dynamics?
LCK is no longer broadcasted in English on YouTube, so the only way to watch English-speaking streams of the league is via Twitch. However, viewership statistics didn’t become worse because of it.
LCK started right off the bat and in the first week of 2021 Spring split gathered over 802,000 viewers at peak. This is 73% more than in the first week of last year's spring split.
The most popular match of the first week for the second year in a row remains the rivalry between T1 and DWG KIA. The latter became world champions at Worlds 2020, so the number of fans on the stream has increased significantly.
The league has also grown by average viewers. Over the year the number increased by 41%.
Three days after LCK the spring split started in CBLOL. Similar to South Korea, from 2021 the Brazilian league also switched to a franchise format, which means that the slots for the participating teams will be retained regardless of the results.
The number of teams in the league has been increased from eight to ten, and several new clubs got slots in the tournament. Among the new names are the esports team of the Cruzeiro and the LOUD organization, known as “Brazilian FaZe” (due to its emphasis on streaming activities). So there was enough intrigue, and this affected the viewership statistics of the first week.
Also Read: LOUD, New Twitch Star
The CBLOL spring split start was very optimistic: almost 320.000 Peak Viewers, which is 155% more than a year ago. At the same time, the tournament has doubled its Hours Watched compared to the first week of 2020 (2 million versus 1 million), and by Average Viewers it has grown by almost 70%.
Just like a year ago, paiN Gaming took part in the most popular match of the first week of CBLOL. However, in the new season, viewers were primarily interested in their opponent LOUD. It’s confirmed by the fact that the second most popular match of the first week in 2021 was the game between LOUD and FURIA (more than 250,000 viewers at peak).
There were no changes in the lineup of LEC participants. The only difference is that Origen rebranded and started performing under the Astralis tag. However, the main intrigue was how Rekkles (who spent the last five years at Fnatic) will debut for G2 Esports.
The hype around G2 Esports helped the league to improve its first week performance compared to the start of last season. The record by Peak Viewers of LEC group stage was updated twice: first during the G2 vs MAD Lions game, which gathered over 574,000 people, and the second time the mark reached 583,400 PV during the G2 vs Fnatic derby in the third week. At the same time, a year ago the first week gathered only 305,500 viewers at peak.
The average number of viewers has also grown significantly: by almost 100,000 people. The first competitive week of 2021 scored twice as much Hours Watched as the LEC Spring 2020 (5.8 million versus 2.56 million), which was also influenced by airtime: in 2021, the first competitive week lasted three days instead of two.
Note that the whole top 5 League of Legends esports matches at the start of spring splits entirely consists of LEC games!
LCS started later than everyone else, and its debut in 2021 was the least successful. The LCS is the only one out of four leagues to get lesser numbers in viewership statistics compared to 2020. However, this can partly be attributed to the fact that the pre-season Lock-In competition took place in mid-January, and it was hyped a lot.
By three key metrics LCS Spring 2021 started worse than last year's season. Note that the first week of the LCS Spring Split 2020 was the most successful in the entire LCS tournament year. Moreover, the start of the 2021 season is inferior to the entire 2020 season by the indicators.
The first weeks of 2020 and 2021 seasons are almost the same by Hours Watched (2.39 million in 2021 vs 2.45 million hours in 2020), but by Peak Viewers new season has dropped by more than 82%, from 387,200 to 212,700. The average number of viewers decreased from 205,700 to 142,800.
As one can see, almost all leagues started more successfully than a year ago. The decline of LCS can be explained by the fact that the start of the tournament was preceded by the Lock-In competition, which Team Liquid won. So the hype around the start of the new LCS season was mostly towards this tournament.
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