Even though the 2020 LCS Summer Split was played out remotely, the viewership was at its highest since 2016 according to Riot Games’ recent viewer update.
Behind the Numbers: A Record-Breaking 2020 #LCS Summer Split
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) September 22, 2020
Riot has been generally transparent with the viewership numbers for the LCS and LEC throughout the year, and it may be because it has been going very well for the developer and publisher. The numbers have seen an increase over the last year, especially in total hours watched.
The total hours watched for the LCS summer split were at nearly 35 million, which is a 72% increase from last year. This increase made the summer split the most watched LCS split since 2016.
The increase is most likely due to the new double-elimination playoffs format and the fact that all games counted towards Worlds qualification. The format allowed more games to be played throughout the playoffs and also created some storylines that fans wouldn’t have experienced in the old format. The teams competing for the title were also very close in skill, providing fans with five series that went all the way to the fifth and deciding games.
Fighting for spots at the 2020 World Championship while also chasing an LCS trophy put a lot on the line for the competing teams. There was no Regional Qualifier to fall back on for teams who didn’t make it into the top three in the final standings, so a bad day could decide the whole year. This is what saw spring championship team Cloud9 miss out on this year’s 2020 World Championship event.
The playoffs format was clearly something that had fans on the edge of their seat, eager to follow the games closely. The hype from the playoffs carried into the final between Team SoloMid and FlyQuest. The average per-minute audience was nearly 485,000, an 27.47% increase from the 2019 LCS Summer Split final.
The peak viewership including the regular season and playoffs hit 551,679, which is an increase of 12.4% from 2019. The numbers are definitely going in the right direction, but are still behind the LEC who peaked at nearly 1 million viewers this year.