After two full weeks of the 2020 LCS season, Riot’s venture to move a few LCS games each week to Monday nights is paying off in certain dividends. But while the Monday Night shows have been stacking up to many of the esports broadcasts that compete in that time slot, the LCS hasn’t necessarily been stacking up to itself. And with the early season hype train quickly pulling out of the station, Monday Night League could be in trouble as we move forward throughout 2020.
During the first week of the season, the LCS raked in viewers at an incredible rate. With over 1,000,000 unique viewers tuning in on the season’s second day, and nearly 400,000 concurrent viewers watching the broadcast at its peak, the LCS was putting up classic League of Legends viewership numbers.
Even last Monday, with nearly 750,000 unique viewers watching the inaugural broadcast of Monday Night League, the numbers on opening weekend were impressive enough to warrant an incredibly different storyline.
However, heading into week 3, Monday Night League’s viewership numbers are quickly declining. Last night’s matchups between FlyQuest and Dignitas & TSM and CLG only pulled in about 73,000 average viewers. In comparison to last week’s haul of ~106,000 average viewers, the dropoff seems disappointing on the surface, but when compared to the unique viewer numbers, it’s obvious that Monday Night League is experiencing a massive falloff coming out of its second week.
Go back to that impressive figure of nearly 750,000 people tuning in on a Monday night back in week 1 and compare it to the ~118,000 viewers who came back for seconds in week 2. When you realize that over 630,000 fans didn’t return to Monday Night League after just one week, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that the venture is already up against the wall. In fact, of the 20 games that have been played on the LCS stage this year, not one of the four Monday Night games rank among the highest-rated and most-viewed.
Of course, using opening weekend numbers for any game or sport to indicate average viewership is unfair, but when the change is so drastic, there’s definitely a few reasons to raise some eyebrows.
And as we move forward through the split, the schedule indicates that the upcoming Monday night games aren’t necessarily going to promote any sort of spike in viewership. With Team Liquid vs. Golden Guardians & CLG vs. Immortals headlining next week’s action, and FlyQuest vs. 100 Thieves and EG vs. Cloud9 taking the stage the week after that, it’s clear that there aren’t too many marquee matchups on the horizon.
In terms of the big picture, nothing really makes Monday Night League stand out from a regular LCS broadcast, it’s just that the results aren’t there in the viewership department. While there’s no major differences in the on-screen product, the reception from one day to the next is starkly contrastable.
Photo Credit: Riot Games, Lolesports, League of Legends, Colin Young-Wolff