LEC viewership still reaching twice the numbers of the LCS

The LEC has maintained its popularity edge over the LCS with the LEC Spring Split accumulating twice the average... Shubh | 30. March 2023

The LEC has maintained its popularity edge over the LCS with the LEC Spring Split accumulating twice the average viewership figures of its North American counterpart.

The LCS Spring Split maintains an impressive average viewership of 103,000 across all broadcasts, which is remarkable given that the competition has only recently entered the playoff stage. While the LEC does not host any postseason matches, they remain ahead of their North American counterparts in terms of viewership. An impressive average viewership count of almost 208,000 was registered during the LEC Spring Split, with the most popular matchup being between Fnatic and KOI, which attracted 350.8K viewers at its peak.

Although the LEC may have outperformed the LCS in terms of popularity by a ratio of more than two, it was unable to surpass the season’s first Split record for viewership. According to Esports Charts, the LEC Spring 2023 registered a 25-26% reduction in nearly all metrics compared to the LEC Winter 2023 regular seasons. However, the fall in metrics is not entirely unexpected given that the first split of the year is often the most popular in the European region.

Why LCS is falling behind the LEC in popularity?

Although there have been several conversations concerning the stark disparity in viewership between the two leagues, the major cause of this consistently remains the same, with some minor variation. With the adjustments made by Riot in advance of the 2023 season, the LEC has a more regular schedule than the LCS, which draws fans in to watch the action.

Riot brought a brand-new Winter Split to LEC that features a group stage, a four-team playoff bracket, and a three-week regular season. The new format emphasizes the importance of every game, making every week a must-watch for fans since clubs can be eliminated from playoff contention through the first three weeks of play.

In contrast, LCS changed its broadcast days to Thursday and Friday in advance of the new season, and viewers didn’t seem to have grown used to it. The league kicks off at 4 p.m. CT, which could be a challenge for Western NA and EU spectators trying to watch and result in a far less organized viewing experience for them. 

The general direction of the league has also been criticized in the past for failing to establish its unique appearance and instead making an excessive effort to imitate traditional sports presentations. The ongoing underperformance of North American teams on the global stage could be an additional factor contributing to the LCS’s decline. Although the level of competition has undoubtedly improved in recent times, it will be difficult for the LCS to currently compete with the LEC in terms of viewership.

Header: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games