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Published: July 3, 2023

Written by: Stoyan Todorov

  • LEC’s viewership drops by a fifth compared to the same time last year
  • This could be caused by the new format and inconvenient times
  • The League EMEA Championship changed the LEC’s format in December

Despite this year’s LEC Winter Split opening week having good teams and an interesting storyline, the tournament saw a significant decrease in viewership compared to last year.

LEC 2023 Sees Fewer Viewers

We are well into 2023 and into this year’s competitive League of Legends season, with various tournaments running or even finishing. The European league, more commonly referred to as the LEC, is one of these with the first week of its Winter Split recently coming to an end. However, the data about the event shows a concerning trend and raises questions about its new format. 

It is not unusual for the first stages of a certain esports competition to have lower viewer numbers than the latter ones. As teams drop out and the stakes become higher, tournaments often see an increase in viewers. That being said, viewership numbers at the beginning stages can be used to estimate how popular the tournament will be. And if we look at the viewership numbers for this first week of the LEC, we’ll see it has significantly diminished.

According to Esports Charts, the first week of the European competition reached a peak viewership of 454 630 with an average viewers count of 289 766. While these numbers could be worse, they are still quite lower than the same time last year. 2022’s LEC Winter Split opening week saw a peak viewership of 527 567 on its first day. 

This Could Be Caused by the New Format

The lower viewership numbers seem a little more concerning when taking into account that the matches themselves played were not bad or uninteresting at all. The highest number of viewers was drawn in by KOI and Excel’s clash. That should not be surprising, considering both teams are top-tier squads. 

But the viewership was additionally boosted as the two squads’ clash had a neat storyline with Odoamne facing off against his former team. The top laner even claimed in a recent interview that he has a “personal vendetta” against KOI because of the way the organization treated him.

But despite all the factors being there, this year’s LEC opening week still performed far below expectations. One reason why this might be is the LEC’s new format and matchdays. The League EMEA Championship announced in December that the tournament will be changing the competition’s format. 

The chief aim was to move away from the otherwise very rigid best-of-one matches and make meetings last longer and be more interesting. Additionally, the LEC this year last longer, having matches on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Previously, the three-day tournament lasted from Friday to Sunday.

It’s possible that the longer games were simply too long to retain viewers, or were just at inconvenient times for many people. 

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