Riot Games revealed this morning that the 2020 League Of Legends World Championship set a new record-breaking viewership. According to the company, the tournament has an Average Minute Audience of 23.04m viewers, with a peak of 45.95m concurrent viewers, for a total of over a billion hours watched live over the course of the tournament. The AMA viewership during Play-Ins was up 61.76% percent year over year. Essentially, while the COVID-19 pandemic has been a rough year for esports in general, it seems audiences who were confined to their homes decided that checking out the tournament was well worth their time. You can read more about it from the announcement below.
The 2020 World Championship, which consisted of 114 games played in Shanghai over five weeks, kicked off with the most-watched Play-Ins stage in its history. Over the course of 38 Play-In matches, fans watched 160.92 million hours of play, a 61.76% percent increase from the same period in 2019, and the AMA increased 87.18% YOY to 3.6 million, no doubt a reflection of the pent-up demand for top-tier esports competition after a season impacted by the global pandemic. Matches were broadcast from the Shanghai Media Tech Center and featured extended reality (XR) production on a scale that had never been achieved before, using a modified version of the Unreal Engine capable of rendering mixed-reality environments at 32K resolutions and 60 frames per second in real time.
"What the esports team at Riot Games achieved this year continues to set the standard for cultivating massive audiences in esports and entertainment," says Eduard Montserrat, CEO of Stream Hatchet. "With the record-breaking Finals AMA of 23.04 million, Riot's leadership within the Western esports market this year continues to boost the growth of esports' footprint. This year, for example, esports watch time on Western streaming platforms increased by 10%, with leagues and tournaments organized by the Riot Esports team accounting for 1/3rd of the watch time."
"The road to Worlds this year was full of unexpected challenges, from our pivot to a single-city tournament to navigating team travel and quarantines," said John Needham, Global Head of Esports at Riot Games. "We're extremely proud that we succeeded in our promise to our players and fans to put on the safest and best show possible, and thrilled that our fans responded, allowing us to post record-breaking Play-Ins viewership through the most viewed Worlds Final ever in our 10th year."