95M Peak Viewers for LPL Spring Finals Is A Stark Reminder That In Esports Viewership, China Is King
The League of Legends Pro League (LPL), the professional LoL esports league for the Chinese region, concluded its Spring 2018 season this past weekend, featuring a match-up between fan favorites Edward Gaming (EDG) and Royal Never Give Up (RNG.) The match-up was hotly anticipated and drew a jaw-dropping 95 million peak concurrent viewers, and the Spring playoffs overall were watched for over 1.1 billion hours according to analytics service ESC (note: all viewership numbers in this piece are drawn from ESC’s reporting on the LPL, NA LCS, and OWL.)
It’s a well-accepted precept in the esports industry that streaming numbers from China need to be taken with a grain of salt given the lack of transparent/independent accounting of viewership reporting from many of the country’s most popular platforms. With that said, a few thoughts about the size of the LPL relative to other esports leagues around the world:
Average concurrent viewership (CCV) for the LPL Spring Split this year was estimated to be 13.9 million— by contrast, average CCV for the Overwatch League was slightly less than 600,000 with Chinese viewership (though not including MLG.TV numbers, which are not public) and less than 150,000 without while average CCV for the NA LCS, the LPL’s North American sister league, was a bit over 200,000 with fairly humble Chinese viewership.
Put another way, ballparking with publicly available viewer numbers, both OWL (including its sizable Chinese viewership) and NA LCS’ average viewership between the start of the year and today combined was about 6% of the LPL’s publicly reported viewership. Even accounting for some fluff in viewership numbers, the scale of the LPL is staggering to think about.
While any industry observer is well aware the Chinese esports market is huge, it’s often glossed over just how massive the gap is between esports viewership in China and the rest of the world, and indeed just how popular LoL esports is in China relative to other popular esports content.
Ninja, Lupo, Others Raise Over $750k For Charity
This past weekend, some of Twitch’s top streamers banded together for the 10th anniversary of Gamers for Giving, raising a whopping $772,598. Of that amount over $420k was raised from ticket sales, donations, the stream team and a Detroit Chevy Dealership and $350k came from PUBG Corp.
Donations will help equip hospitals across the country with entertainment devices (consoles, controllers, monitors, games etc) for hospitalized children. Read more about the charity, the cause, and the contributors here.
Well, that’s absolutely incredible.
The power of the gaming community to raise such an impressive sum of money, in such a short period of time, for a charitable cause is astounding. Further, it provides insight into the psyche of the gaming community and it’s collective makeup.
- We want to rally for a cause. Causes give us meaning and our desire to contribute — even in our own little way — make us feel good about ourselves.
- We’re not broke. Actually, far from it. We’re willing to pay and/or donate for things we find valuable.
- We have friends. Many of them. They are our digital community and they make us feel a part of something bigger.
- We have role models. Our favorite streamers are able to encourage action because we want to support them.
I’m not sure any of the above are novel. I actually think that for those who are embedded in this world, they are fundamental. However, I think they’re worth spelling out because the gaming community often gets lumped together into one big blob and mis-characterized.
Gamers are incredibly diverse, but our passion for this ‘lifestyle’ — one that includes helping others, being social, and yes, playing video games — is what unites us. We’re not always the nicest online, especially behind digital avatars, but I genuinely believe we mean well. This weekend showed a glimpse into our collective power.
The best news of all? We’re welcoming! Have you played a game of Fortnite yet? I’m sure you’ll like it. Put in a few dozen hours then tune in to Ninja’s stream — you might understand why we can’t look away.