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LCL: The return to Twitch

LCL: The return to Twitch

When it comes to the CIS-based esports, 2020 has brought the big changes for the League of Legends, with the region's main league returning to Twitch. Today we will tell you about the LCL results on this platform over the course of first few weeks since the return.

The Moscow office of Riot Games has announced the exclusive rights to the Russian-language broadcast of the Continental League being sold to Yandex. As per this agreement, the respective broadcasts of the championship would take place on Yandex.Efir – the Yandex company's very own video hosting and streaming website.

Such a decision has immediately caused numerous problems, with the first one being that of Ukrainian fans. A number of Russian web services (including all the Yandex-related projects) were blocked by the Ukrainian government, effectively forcing everyone interested in spectating the LCL to use VPN (or any other similar tricks) in order to bypass this. As a result, this particular segment of the audience was pushed off the air for a while.

The technical side of things was also problematic, with the viewers constantly running into faulty broadcasting process, the absence of chat in the early stages, and so on. The number of shortcomings was high enough to discourage even the most hardcore CIS-based fans from watching the stream.

This has resulted in an appearance of a “pirated” version of the event's regular part on Twitch starting from its first week. What's quite interesting is the complete lack of response from Riot Games, given their usually prompt reaction to any issues they have.

It should be noted that we didn't collect the indicators of the Continental League in 2019 – as Yandex.Efir platform did not provide access to the open data (unlike Twitch and other platforms). All in all we are going to concentrate on the first week's results drawing upon the regular part of LCL Spring. The LCL Open Cup shall not be discussed given that in 2019 it was still taking place on Twitch.

Now, when comparing 2018 and 2020 it can be seen that the CIS league did not lose any viewers; moreover, this year's first week has already turned out to be more viewable than the one two years ago.

The peak viewers indicators show a difference of 43% in favor of 2020, which is equal to a 7 thousand viewers worth advantage over the earlier season. The situation regarding the average viewers is nearly identical, now with the respective difference of 42%. This means that the first week of LCL Spring 2020 has exceeded its counterpart by 5 thousand viewers.

The hours watched was the only indicator this year's championship didn't manage to beat so far, and the airtime difference is likely to blame. The event's format changed in 2020, with the number of matches per week having dwindled as a result.

The changes also include the switch of the regular part of the region's main league to the online format – with all the matches being played using the teams' own bases rather than the company's special arena. Riot's statement ensures the positive financial impact of this decision for the LCL, as well as its role in making the playoffs more engaging.

To sum up this article, it can be understood that the League of Legends is doing quite well on the post-Soviet space. Despite the suboptimal decision regarding its broadcast, the game keeps on attracting more and more viewers – although a more definitive statement regarding this matter should wait until the final match of the spring split.

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