The most watched esports events of all time in 2023

By William Davis

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May 10, 2023

Reading time: 3 min

Esports events have become some of the most watched competitive events in the world, but only an elite few stand at the top of the pile.

Esports have quickly become one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the world. Thanks to free international broadcasts, casual players and grinders alike can tune in to watch pros battle for millions of dollars in prize money.

The most popular games naturally attract the largest viewership bases, spurred on by in-game events, stellar production, and live casino betting opportunities. If you’re curious about which esports events have earned the biggest audiences, these are the top three gaming competitions of all time ranked by viewership.

3. 2022 LoL Mid-Season Invitational

The Mid-Season Invitational is one of only two international League of Legends in a calendar year. In 2022, Royal Never Give Up pulled off a miracle run in the grand finals with a back-and-forth series against favorite T1 in a full five-game series. The thrilling event both resolved storylines from the first half of the season and set the stage for Worlds later that year.

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MSI’s viewership has grown with every year, making the most recent edition in 2022 one of the most watched esports events of all time. Riot Games reported peak viewership at 2.2 million. This is especially impressive given that the event isn’t even the yearly pinnacle of the game, but Worlds will make a later appearance on this list.

2. Mobile Legends Bang Bang SEA Cup 2022

Esports fans in the west may not be familiar with Mobile Legends Bang Bang, but MLBB is arguably the most popular esports in the world. The mobile MOBA is extremely popular in Southeast Asia, with moderate followings in South America, China, and Europe. The Southeast Asian regional championship of 2022 ranks as the second most-watched esports event of all time.

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According to developer Moonton, Mobile Legends Bang Bang SEA Cup 2022 garnered a peak viewership of 2.8 million across all streaming channels. That outranks all events in the history of more mainstream esports like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2. MLBB has continued its growth over several years, and there’s a good chance it could eclipse the next event for the most watched esports event of all time.

1. League of Legends World Championships 2022

Worlds is the single most mainstream esports event in the history of gaming. The League of Legends World Championships has consistently broken records for the most viewed tournament in all of gaming every year. This has proved true for 2022 as well, with Riot Games claiming that 5.1 million people tuned in to watch the firecracker grand final between DRX and T1.

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The insanely high peak viewership can be largely attributed to that match. It represented the end of several years-long storylines, including the long and storied career of Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu, who went eight long years without the title only to achieve it in 2022. It also marked the end of an era for the storied T1 roster spearheaded by mid lane extraordinaire Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok.

Even the biggest esports events trail behind major traditional sports events like the Super Bowl and NBA Finals by several million viewers, but the massive viewership of these events proves that the rising tide of esports isn’t ending anytime soon. These records are all likely to be broken in 2023. With Dota 2, Counter-Strike, and League of Legends all still growing, it’s fair to say that the most watched esports events of all time are still ahead of us.

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