The LCS’ opening weekend saw a drop in viewership compared to last year.
This past weekend, the LCS had an average of 71,419 viewers throughout the 20 hours of pro competition. It’s unclear if this is all platforms combined (YouTube, Twitch, co-streams, etc) or just one platform thus far. Last year’s first weekend had 106,083. This seems like a possibly significant decline, but League of Legends fans shouldn’t worry just yet. The LCS is just as popular as ever before.
Even though last weekend was the opening of the LCS, this year’s tournament also added something new: The Lock In. This preseason substitute took place in January over the span of a few weeks. The Lock In action saw an average of more than 196,000 on English streams alone, according to an official LCS press release. That’s 43% higher than the first three weeks of last year’s Spring Split.
According to the press release, the tournament’s finals had an average audience of 246,000. The intense Cloud9 versus Team Liquid match peaked at 372,000 viewers on English-language broadcasts.
When compared to last year’s Spring Split opening weekend, the Lock In saw much higher viewership. Since the Lock In was the first bout of action from the highly anticipated LCS season in 2021, it’s not really too surprising that it had impressive viewership, even if it came at the cost of taking some of the hype away from the 2021 LCS Spring Split’s opening weekend.
For now, it seems that 2021’s LCS tournament is getting about as much viewership as last year. But the League of Legends community won’t fully know the LCS’ consistent viewership until there have been a few more weeks of matches played. That way, the viewership can be compared with a larger sample size from the 2020 LCS.
The next bout of matches will take place on Friday, February 12, starting with 100 Thieves versus FlyQuest.
Cloud9 easily took the victory in the 2020 LCS Spring Split. The North American region saw a lot of teams bounced back in the 2020 LCS Summer Split, most likely inspired by the chance to compete at the World Championship. The top three spots ended up going to TSM, FlyQuest, and Team Liquid, with Cloud9 narrowly being shut out of the top three. Those top North American teams competed at Worlds, where they represented the LCS.
Most LCS salaries and contracts are kept private from the public, except for a few stunning exceptions. The North American League of Legends Championship Series Players Association recently revealed, however, that the average salary for an LCS player is $410,000. This means some players are getting paid significantly more than this amount based on their previous experience and popularity with fans, while rookies are earning a bit less than the average as they fight to prove themselves.