For the last couple of years, the Chinese region had a real boom, with its teams becoming the champions of LoL Worlds twice in a row. But how exactly did this impact the region's viewability?
First, let us make a brief digression into history. Merely few years ago the Chinese region was so-so, not showing any prominent strengths (or weaknesses, to that regard). Despite constantly reaching high spots at the World Championship, it just couldn't reach the finals. But the year before last has featured the victory of IG – which has started a chain of events leading to China's domination. This sounds quite similar to what has previously happened with South Korea.
We will take a look at this spring's regional tournament in the context of all tournaments starting in 2017 according to two key indicators: the peak viewers and the average viewers. Therefore, we are going to cover the tournaments before and after the two Summoner Cups. If you are interested in the comparisons to the rest of the world, we have touched upon this topic in recent news.
LPL Spring 2020 has gathered 331 thousand peak viewers, a result which has improved the league's maximum by several times. The league's previous highest point was reached at the summer split finals at the mark of 133 thousand peak viewers. This means that the difference between the two reaches as much as 147%. An almost identical increase can be seen for the average viewers indicator. The result of 23 thousand average viewers improved on the series' previous record of 13 thousand average viewers by 145%.
Overall, these statistics are quite surprising. In 2018 the league showed a slight decline – but the champions title of IG has changed the situation, allowing the series to update the record in the summer of 2019. The Second Summoners Cup has further strengthened the overall interest in the LoL Pro League.
Along with this, we should not forget about the situation with coronavirus. The pandemic has caused China to become the first region to face the quarantine-induced problems, forcing it to pause all activities. This has happened in mid-January, and so the matches resumed after a couple of months – in March.
But the same turn of things has worked to the event's advantage – given that the other regions were only starting to face the same problem by the time when LPL has already recovered and resumed holding matches. The China's matches have managed to fill the void during this "esports downtime", keeping the League of Legends fans from getting bored.
The English stream deserves a separate mention. Its results have shown a decent growth over the past few seasons. For example, the peak viewers mark had an increase of 440% since the spring 2018. On the other side, in two years since the LPL Spring 2018 the average viewers mark has increased by 178%.
This serves as a confirmation of a significant growth of the western audience's interest in the league – being a result of the region winning two Champion Cups. The period between the summer of 2019 and the year's last split has marked the largest increase in popularity.
The team ranking looks rather interesting. The current World Champions are only in the 4th spot of the top. Meanwhile, Invictus Gaming (the previous winners of LoL Worlds 2018) came to the second spot.
The first spot was taken by the rather young organization Top Esports. This team has been among the best participants of the China's main league of China for the second year in a row. In the current split, it has managed to reach its maximum, which is earning the LoL Pro League’s gold. It may well be that we are witnessing the emergence of a new winner of the World Championship, as it happened with FPX during the last year.
China is experiencing a large influx of viewers – but its still not quite enough for competing with the world's other major leagues. Maybe this summer the situation will change?