Despite the fact that the World Championship had ended over a month ago and the League of Legends offseason is in full swing, there’s apparently still an incredibly high demand for League esports. And with the All-Star event placed directly at the midpoint of the game’s annual winter break, it’s clear that fans are eager to see some of League’s most talented stars – some of whom might be donning new uniforms – take to the stage.
The entire global community has been witness to a “rosterpocalypse” over the course of the past few weeks, as teams from across the world have undergone massive changes to their starting lineups through free agency and trading alike. Whether it was the signing of young European All-Star and Fnatic legend Rasmus “Caps” Winther to rival G2 Esports, or the massive move that sent longtime SKT bottom laner Bae “Bang” Jun-sik to North America’s 100 Thieves, it’s obvious that the 2018 offseason has already been packed with roster swaps – and the latest edition of the All-Star Event was the perfect opportunity to see this top-level talent in action.
In comparison to last year, this year’s All-Star Weekend had a larger draw, as the size of the average viewing audiences went up from 2017’s event in Los Angeles. Last season, the average audience averaged out to around 245,000 concurrent viewers. Once the often-skewed metric of Chinese viewers was added into the mix, that number shot up to nearly 11,000,000. Needless to say, it’s important to take esports viewership statistics coming out of China with a grain of salt.
This year, the viewership numbers went up by quite a large margin. In fact, last year’s precise average of 243,920 concurrent viewers rose to a mark of 334,899 in 2018. This drastic rise effectively raised the concurrent viewership numbers by 37.3%, making the 2018 All-Star Weekend the most-watched All-Star Event since the event moved to the offseason in 2015.
Additionally, what stood out as a major change in terms of what people were interested at the All-Star Event from 2017 to 2018, was the fact that the most popular matches in terms of viewership shifted from traditional 5v5 games between the regions in 2017 to featured games such as the 2v2 Tournament and Tandem Mode this season. While a match between the LCK and LPL All-Stars garnered almost 450,000 viewers last year, the opening round of the 2v2 Tournament this season drew a crowd that nearly pushed 600k.
All in all, it’s important to look at the 2018 All-Star Event a massive win for League of Legends esports, regardless of the fact that the tournament was played in the dead of winter during the game’s offseason.
Photo Credits: HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas, Allied Esports
Statistics Courtesy of ESC