Image credit: Riot Games via X (@LCSOfficial)
The recently concluded League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Summer Split 2023 continued the trend of poor viewership after its finals recorded just over 223,000 peak viewers.
As a result, the competition earns the unflattering title of the least-popular LCS split in the league’s modern history. According to Esports Charts, the event attracted just under 77,000 average viewers with 11.9m total hours watched across its 154 hours of air time.
The LCS Summer split took place from mid-June to mid-August 2023 and saw NRG take home its first-ever LCS title by beating Cloud 9 in the grand final.
In comparison to the LCS’s previous split — LCS Spring 2023 — the Summer split had around 50,000 fewer peak viewers and around 30,000 fewer average viewers with around 20 hours less broadcast. When compared to the Summer 2022 split, the 2022 edition had 150,000 more peak viewers and 7,000 more average viewers than Summer 2023.
The drop in viewers for every split is sadly a trend in League of Legends esports in North America, a region that recently saw tensions between the organisations and Riot Games that resulted in a first-ever proposed play walkout in League of Legends history. This resulted in the Summer Split being temporarily postponed until an agreement between the LCS and the LCSPA was reached.
Esports Charts listed several possible reasons for the drop in viewership, ranging from poor timing for the finals to the popularity of teams in the grand finals. However, the fact remains that League of Legends esports is now seeing drops in viewership in more than just North America. LEC, Europe’s top-flight league, has also struggled with numbers during 2023, as have other regional leagues like CBLOL.
For example, LEC Summer 2023 saw a decrease of almost 350,000 peak viewers when compared to 2022 and a decrease of 40,000 average viewers. CBOL lost around 40,000 peak viewers and 9,000 average viewers for the first splits of 2022 and 2023, respectively.
As the North American teams prepare for the upcoming League of Legends World Championship, there is much to be discussed by Riot Games to attract more eyes to the LCS in 2024.