Valorant Champions Tour 2021 Stage 2 Masters Reykjavík has wrapped up with outstanding results not only in terms of team performances but also in terms of viewership numbers.
The first international VALORANT competition had exceeded expectations when it broke its own viewership record and placed itself among the top spectated CS:GO majors in recent years.
The Riot Games-operated $600,000 LAN tournament took place across the last week of May in Reykjavík, Iceland, where the top 10 teams of VCT 2021 Stage 2 battled it out in a double-elimination bracket.
Sentinels at the top
The event concluded with a tense showdown between Sentinels and Fnatic. Over 1 million concurrent viewers tuned in to spectate the grand final, making it the most-watched VALORANT esports match so far.
The second highest peak appeared during Team Liquid vs Version1 match, which was watched by 748K concurrent viewers. That is still more than double the previous record — 363K Peak Viewers hit during the NA Stage 1 Masters.
Sentinels, who grabbed the $200,000 prize and claimed the first-ever VALORANT major for themselves and for North America, have gotten through the competition without dropping a single map. The squad’s success reflects in its popularity, as it was also the most spectated team of the tournament, with 676K viewers on average.
Second-placed Fnatic too showed an incredible performance after losing their second match to Sentinels, climbing their way back to the grand final through the loser’s bracket. With almost 529K Average Viewers, they also placed as the second most-watched team.
The top five most popular teams by Average Viewers chart is completed by North American teams Team Liquid (521K AV) and Version1 (507K AV) and Brazilian squad Team Vikings (500K AV).
Catching up CS:GO
The VCT 2021 Reykjavík was broadcasted for 52 hours, and during this time, it gathered over 25M Hours Watched. As expected, the English-speaking spectators made up the majority of the audience (59.7%), followed by Portuguese (11.5%) and Japanese (10.1%).
On average, 488K viewers tuned in to spectate the event, bypassing some of the best performing CS:GO majors since 2017. For comparison, PGL Major Krakow 2017 and ELEAGUE Major 2018 gathered 448K and 423K Average Viewers, respectively. The only CS:GO event with better results was ELEAGUE Major 2017, which was spectated by 592K people on average.
The presented numbers show that VALORANT is looking to establish itself among the biggest esports titles on the current scene, especially after some of the most popular organisations brought their rosters into the spotlight and the offline tournament format became possible again.
Community casters bringing in viewers
However, Riot also has the streamer community to thank for this immediate success. The broadcast was carried by well-known Twitch streamers, such as Shroud or Pokimane, who in fact contributed more hours watched than the broadcasts without community casting.
Shroud’s stream alone brought in over 8M Hours Watched, twice as much as the official VCT stream with 4M Hours Watched. It should be noted that Shroud covered almost the whole duration of VCT 2021 Reykjavík’s air time, except for a single hour.
His stream was watched by 163.7K Average Viewers, peaking at 340.6K concurrent viewers, while the official VCT stream attracted 79K viewers on average and peaked at 198.8K concurrent viewers.
Unlike in other titles, all community casters were VCT partners and provided the same live broadcast as the official channel, only with their own unique take and commentary. Out of the total of 25 million hours watched, over 14M HW (56.2%) was contributed by community casters, as opposed to 11M HW (43.8%) without them.
VALORANT - the next big esports title?
VALORANT recently celebrated its first birthday. The initial hype around the game one year ago was massive, although many argued it was overhyped thanks to Riot’s sophisticated marketing strategies. The viewership statistics from the first stage of the VALORANT Champions Tour 2021 suggested that VALORANT may indeed end up as a niche discipline.
However, the most recent stats show that the VALORANT hype is back and the title is on its way to becoming the next big esport. The title’s popularity is also evident especially in the North American region, where CS:GO has been gradually declining since the start of the global pandemic. With all the top-tier CS:GO competition concentrated on the Old Continent, nothing stands in VALORANT’s way to dominate the North American esports scene.
Given that the event in Reykjavík was the first-ever global VALORANT competition, its prospects look promising, as more and bigger events are set to be held in the future. Plus, there’s still a handful of prominent organisations who haven’t joined the competition yet.
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