Every month ESI, in collaboration with Esports Charts, delves into the world of esports viewership to highlight what audiences are currently watching, along with other emerging trends in the industry.
With Riot Games’ League of Legends ecosystem reaching its Spring season climax, records have been broken and the title continues to showcase its popularity. However, by the end of March, it was mobile esports that once again took the spotlight.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang retains the top spot
For the second time in a row, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang’s MPL ID Season 9 was the most popular esports tournament of the month. Garnering an impressive 1.73m peak viewers, the Indonesian league continues to gain momentum ahead of its conclusion later this month.
According to Esports Charts, MPL ID Season 9 isn’t just the most popular esports event of the month, but the most popular of the year so far. This topples global events such as IEM Katowice (1.12m peak viewers), the PUBG Mobile Global Championship 2021 Finals (646,633) and the Six Invitational 2022 (272,714).
Overall, the competition has recorded an average viewership of 380,406, which is lower than MPL ID Season 8 (447,142). So, it’ll certainly be interesting to see if that figure increases as the competition gets closer to the final. Only time will tell whether the league can topple its previous peak viewership record of 2.39m.
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Finally, the title’s Indonesian league wasn’t the only Mobile Legends competition to be featured in Esports Charts’ viewership table. Finishing fifth, MPL PH Season 9 recorded 455,818 peak viewership, highlighting that Mobile Premier League’s esports ecosystem is more than just one region deep.
League of Legends remains strong
Placing second and third on Esports Charts’ table is League of Legends’ Korean and European league, with a peak viewership of 736,783 and 473,230, respectively.
Despite finishing second this month, LCK’s viewership figure is only the fourth-highest for the competition so far this season. In fact, the top four most viewed matches actually all took place in different months, thus showing the consistency of the competition.
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As the graphic highlights, the most viewed match-up for LCK Spring 2022 was earlier this month in the Grand Final as T1 defeated GenG to finish the season undefeated. With a peak viewership of 1.37m, the competition became the most popular Korean Regional League event, topping the previous record set by LCK Summer 2021 of 1.31m.
The LEC, League of Legends’ European league, also has shown promising viewership through the 2020 Spring season. However, the figure is still way off its highest peak viewership of 1m, recorded during LEC Summer 2020. With the European competition set to conclude later this month, it’s worth keeping an eye on whether the event beats its Spring 2021 peak viewership of 836,062.
An emphasis on Spanish viewership
Placing fourth on Esports Charts’ viewership table was the Free Fire League Latinoamerica 2022 opening, which recorded 461,057 peak viewers. According to the data platform, the viewership figure was all Spanish-speaking viewers, which continues to highlight the growth of regional competitions and broadcasts.
Whilst Spanish is heavily prominent across the world, most notably LATAM, the regional viewership doesn’t just stop with the widely popular mobile title. This month also saw over 250,000 Spanish viewers at one point in time tune in to see the LVP Superliga, Riot Games’ Spanish European Regional League of Legends competition — the competition’s highest viewership to date.
In addition, Riot Games’ regional VRL recorded over 150,000 Spanish viewers, more than the VCT 2022 LATAM Stage 1 Challengers Playoffs (113,092).
Regional speaking viewership increases don’t just stop in Spain. The LFL, France’s League of Legends regional competition, broke its viewership record by garnering a peak figure of 221,118. However, it is important to note that the competition’s grand final between LDLC and Team BDS Academy was not featured in the top five highest viewed matches. In fact, all the top five performing games featured Karmine Corp.
What to expect in April 2022
The major talking point this month will be whether MPL ID Season 9 can topple the viewership records set during its last season in 2021. Moreover, given the rising popularity of League of Legends regional competitions, the viewership for this year’s European Masters — which is a culmination of Riot Games’ European Regional Leagues — will be fascinating to see.
April also sees VALORANT look to make a statement with its first Masters event of the season taking place later this month. The last time VALORANT esports took over Reykjavík the event recorded over 1m peak viewers.