In 2018, gamers had a chance to spectate a huge number of esports events. Constant tournaments, leagues and other kinds of events left no chance for boredom. In today's article we will analyze the most popular events of the year.
Before we start, we should mention the participation of community's broadcasts in the statistics gathered. One example would be the commentators broadcasting open qualifiers of The International on their personal pages. The broadcasts of this kind also served as additional sources when it came to forming our final figures.
It seems best to start from major events in the world of esports – such as LoL Championship Series or Overwatch League. The second, by the way, is the most viewed one across the entire list. This is due to the fact that the first season of the competition for the four stages generated a total of 555 hours of broadcasts. At the same time, his closest competitor from LCS reached only 141 hours.
As expected, the League of Legends events from Riot Games entered the top five. Three out of five positions were claimed by the American, European and Korean regional leagues respectively. EU split for Championship Series arrived to fifth place, losing nearly a quarter of the audience to its American counterpart. In turn, LCK has reached a nearly identical result to that of NA region due to having a total of 301 hours of broadcast.
The third place went to Fortnite Summer Skirmish, which produced 99 hours of broadcast. Epic Games' own league managed to create quite some hype in its first year. Despite its relative youth, it was able to compete with world's giants, such as LCS – and even surpassed LCK.
Esports discipline known as Arena of Valor, along with its AoV World Championship, took everyone by surprise. In just six months between the tournaments, the game was able to increase its overall visibility from 3 to 8 million views. Such dynamic growth not only makes one think about the popularity of the project, but also clearly shows the increasing interest in mobile gaming.
Among all the World Championships held, the Brendan Greene's battle royale, PUBG, finally had its chance to shine. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds' main tournament of the year arrived in the fourth place by total amount of views on all platforms. In total, viewers spent 9.4 million hours on PGI broadcasts.
Following these, we can see a sharp increase of figures in favor of the old-timers of the industry – represented by the League of Legends, CS:GO and Dota 2. Worlds 2018 became the absolute leader of the outgoing season. Following it were The International and ELEAGUE Major. The ELEAGUE competition became the most successful of all events supported by Valve.
The event from Epic Esports Events cannot be ignored either. EPICENTER gained two times more views compared to the previous time. In addition, the championship was the second most popular Dota 2 event in 2018, being outclassed only by The International in terms of attention gathered. When compared to the last tournament of the series, it can be seen that in 2018 EEE managed to become more than twice as attractive to its audience.
Let’s note the finals of StarSeries fourth season, which was held in the capital of Ukraine. Despite the list of participants, it was able to gather a large audience. In many ways, this was due to an otherwise empty event schedule, as well as the interesting rivalries seen among the participating teams. For the first time in a while, fans had no obvious favorite for the first spot.
Moreover, the event collected more views compared to a nominal DAC. Despite objectively existing for much longer and having a more interesting list of participants, Dota 2 Asia Championships seemingly just couldn't get the right audience. And yes, we primarily look at the statistics based on the western tourney areas, but even these show low amount of interest towards Chinese Dota 2 coming from the average viewer from the western hemisphere.
Ranked within top five were two CS:GO events. Apparently, this discipline continues to gain momentum. This is clearly seen through the difference between the last two majors of ELEAGUE, which shows positive growth. A significant role in all of this was played by the organizer's newly adopted approach to the broadcasts, which brought the TV format to the streaming platforms. This factor, together with excellent technical backbone, strengthened the viewers' interest and therefore provided the event with additional viewing hours.
Compared to success of Worlds 2018, the results of the Mid-Season Invitational tend to leave mixed feelings. For the first time over the past few years, MSI's popularity has dropped. In part, this can be explained by the finals featuring Chinese team, as well as the overall terrible performance of Western teams. The last straw in the list of related problems was the fact that the tournament battles occupied non-comfortable timeslots, often happening right in the middle of working day.
If the statistics were to include the popular eastern platforms, the situation for products of Seattle guys would look less bright. Asian players would strengthen the positions of League of Legends and PUBG, as well as add new projects from mobile esports to the list. However, even without taking our eastern friends into consideration, this part of the industry has already built up a huge fan base in the western hemisphere – so who knows what the next year has in store for us.