LEC vs. LCS viewership takes surprising turn after TSM’s decline

By Melany Moncada


Sep 26, 2019

Reading time: 3 min

The summer split came to an end around the world and teams are now getting ready for the 2019 League of Legends World Championship. The numbers are in and the LEC enjoyed a higher viewership count than its North American counterpart during the season

According to stats published by analytical service Esports Charts, the LEC surpassed the LCS in viewership throughout most of the season. The rivalry between the LEC and LCS reached a new level this year, but it’s the European league that came out on top in this regard.

LEC vs. LCS, in numbers

The LCS had a good start to the summer season with over 250,000 peak viewers during week one. It fluctuated below that number for much of the season, but went up during the playoffs and finals. Despite that, it never cleared 500,000.

On average, the matches in the summer split had 158,000 peak viewers, which marked a 17% decline in viewership from the spring split.

The LEC had a very different journey. On average, the matches in the European tournament had 170,000 peak viewers with those numbers spiking far higher than what the LCS saw. The final match between G2 Esports and Fnatic hit 841,000 viewers, making it the most-watched finals of all regions. The LCK came in second at 776,000.

TSM wins LCS popularity contest, but loses actual games 

Despite falling well short of the LEC, the LCS is by no means a dying tournament. The first franchised league for Riot Games is very much alive and still draws in hundreds of thousands of fans on a weekly basis.

There are many possible explanations for why the LEC stood tall over the LCS this summer, but the most likely culprit is the league’s predictability. The LEC had a number of contenders battling for supremacy and a wild, shifting meta. By comparison, everyone knew how the LCS season would end right from the start.

Team Liquid has stood in first place on both the LCS standings and world rankings consistently for a long while now, but the organization’s popularity hasn’t risen to meet that success. Team SoloMid and Cloud9 both enjoy bigger fanbases at home and abroad. At every international event, fans turn out for TSM and Cloud9 in a way that makes other organizations envious.

Unfortunately for the LCS, while TSM remains a popular act it has been on a competitive decline. For the past two years, TSM has been struggling to qualify for playoffs and 2019 will see the organization miss Worlds for the second year in a row.

According to Esports Charts’ stats, TSM’s matches had the highest peak viewers of the season. The top match of the summer took place in week three when TSM faced Cloud9. That game had more viewers than the inaugural match against Team Liquid.

TSM’s drawing power is undeniable and its current failure to perform seems to be hurting the LCS as a whole.

Across the pond, the LEC is thriving thanks to 2019 Mid-Season Invitational champions G2 Esports. The European back-to-back champions have exploded over the last year and started a new era in competitive League of Legends.

Whether fans love them or hate them, G2 has changed the game and put the LEC on the map as the strongest league in the world. All eyes were on Europe during the summer because fans wanted to watch what G2 was going to do next.

G2 and Fnatic, another international powerhouse, had the most-watched game of the season in week three with 300,000 peak viewers.