LEC viewership is booming so far in 2021, while the LCS is falling behind significantly.
According to Esports Charts, the LEC is currently seeing double the average viewership of the LCS while the peak viewership in the LEC is almost three times larger than that of the LCS. The stats are great for the LEC as the viewership keeps improving, but for the LCS these numbers are starting to worry fans and experts.
If you’re wondering how the LEC/LCS/LCK compare…
LEC – 301k AVG Viewers – 580k peak viewers
LCK – 248k AVG Viewers – 800k peak viewers
LCS – 136k AVG Viewers – 212k peak viewers
Not including China viewership.
LEC = 2.3x bigger than LCS by almost all metrics. pic.twitter.com/4p5X9C34Zr
— Sam Mathews (@sammathews) February 14, 2021
The numbers recorded by Esports Charts state that the average LEC viewership is sitting at 301,000, while the LCS is only sitting on an average of 136,000 viewers. What’s even more worrying is that the peak viewership of the LCS during the 2021 spring season is only at 212,000 viewers, while the LEC pulled in 580,000 during the G2 Esports vs. Fnatic game on February 6.
These numbers don’t include Chinese viewers, but that shouldn’t make much of a difference in the case of two Western leagues. The numbers could still be affected by co-stream and live viewings since popular streamers like Nick “LS” Cesare and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng are pulling thousands of viewers while co-streaming the LCS every week. With that said, there is no doubt that the LEC is currently seeing more interest from LoL fans around the world compared to the LCS.
The difference in numbers could be due to several things. The most logical explanation is the level of play, as Europe has shown a higher level in general over the past few years. At the 2020 World Championship, LEC teams outperformed the LCS teams with a large margin. Furthermore, the LEC broadcast production has gotten a lot of praise since the rebrand in 2019 and the quality has improved in 2021. Meanwhile, the LCS is still stuck with a completely remote setup, which takes away some of the live presence and content quality that fans are used to.
There is also just less competition for peoples’ attention in Europe. Between politics, traditional sports, and wild weather patterns, the United States has had a busy start to 2021. That has seen people consuming news content more than usual, to the detriment of everything else.
It’s luckily still early in the season, which means that the LCS has plenty of time to gather more viewership. With a new format and playoffs coming up, the LCS might be able to redeem itself later in the year.
While there’s a big gap in viewership between the two major western leagues, South Korea’s LCK is pulling some big numbers in 2021. After DWG KIA won the 2020 World Championship, it seems like fans have renewed faith and interest in the LCK.
So far in 2021, the LCK peaked at a whopping 802,000 viewers in the DWG KIA and T1 series on January 15. The match represented the former kings of League of Legends and the new ones against each other for the first time this year. When it comes to average viewers, the LCK is still behind the LEC but 248,000 viewers on average are still solid.
Both LEC splits in 2020 were won by G2 Esports. The team has been dominant in the European scene for the past two seasons and has represented Europe well in international events. G2 is looking to continue its dominance in 2021 and is a big part of why hundreds of thousands of viewers are tuning in to watch LEC every week.
The League Championship Series, also known as the LCS, is the biggest professional League of Legends league in North America. The league represents the 10 best teams in the region and is considered one of the four major leagues in LoL esports. Performing well in the LCS earns a direct ticket to the official League of Legends World Championship.