The leagues are an important part of esports, and for some disciplines the very competitive system is centered around them. Which of these earned popularity in 2019? Overwatch League? ESL Pro League? Or maybe LEC? Who is at the top? Today these questions will be answered.
But first of all, we should define the type of event described by the "league" term. This is a long-term competition or a whole series split into multiple parts. Depending on type, this kind of competition may be divided into several regions.
What kind of data was included in the ranking? Taken into account were the regular stages, final stages and qualifiers. In addition, each league is represented not by a separate season or split, but rather by the total sum of all related events over the course of 2019.
Overwatch League was marked by the largest number of the hours watched. This also marks the second year in a row where OWL takes the lead based on the end-year summary. This competition has collected 75 million hours over the course of four stages and playoffs. To compare, the year's most watched tournament, LoL Worlds, has a result of 137 million hours. This comparison is not accidental, since this league is central to Overwatch, essentially being a replacement for the World Cup.
The ranking also featured some new faces in 2019, for example PUBG Mobile Club Open. The main event of the mobile version of the game was able to collect 45 million hours watched. One special thing about it is the large number of leagues from all over the world, although the major part of the aforementioned indicator was obtained during the Asian competitions.
Overall, the ranking position of League of Legends is similar to the one from the last year: with the regional championships for South Korea, Europe and North America being located at the second, third, and fourth spot respectively. But the fact that LCK is now the highest-ranked one among the three shows the shift in balance of powers; additionally EU LCS (now known as LEC) is quite a bit ahead of the American LCS.
As a whole, League of Legends European Championship is the year's most successful league so far – being able to gather 51 million hours watched for its 280 hours of airtime. The event's peak viewers indicator has reached 841 thousand people, while the average viewers indicator has reached the mark of 183 thousand people. Both of these indicators of LEC are the best among the top 10 leagues of 2019.
But the achievements of the mobile gaming are not limited to merely one league. Outside of the top 5 there's also RoV Pro League, the main Arena of Valor league of Thailand, with the result of 21 million hours watched. The top 10 was too crowded for Free Fire Pro League Brazil, which has reached the eleventh spot in the ranking.
However, there is another Brazilian competition that stands out. The region's titular LoL league has gathered 21 million 438 thousand hours watched, which is only 2 thousand hours behind the RoV Pro League. This has caused CBLOL to reach the eighth spot.
While Free Fire did not manage to enter the top, it still had the peak viewers indicator of 1 million people – which is, as of today, a record amount when compared to every and each league. The broadcast's airtime has amounted to only 68 hours due to its format (with all the other participants of the ranking having scored at least twice as many hours) which is the reason for the event's failure to enter the top 10.
Instead of slowing down, the organizers of Free Fire aim to further expand the esports scene in 2020 by introducing the new leagues. This means that over the next years we may as well see the competitions for this game at the very least reaching the top 10. Along with this, we shouldn't forget about the League of Legends – being the most popular game, it has every chance of replacing the Overwatch League as the owner of the top spot in the ranking.