Now that we're well into the 2017 competitive League of Legends season, it's time to look back at this year's MSI with Riot's recently released viewership statistics, and see what trends might reveal themselves.
Overall, 218 million hours of esports were watched by fans, with a peak concurrent viewership of 4.3 million, and 364 million total unique viewers over the course of the 15-day tournament (including rebroadcast hours). An average of 2.5 million fans tuned in concurrently to the final between SKT T1 and G2 Esports.
To compare, let's look at the numbers from MSI 2016. Unfortunately, few of the statistics provided are parallel and can thus be properly compared. For instance, 119 million hours were watched by fans, but that doesn't include rebroadcast hours. The 202 million daily unique impressions stat isn't helpful, either.
|||MSI 2016||MSI 2017|
|Peak Concurrent Viewership||6 million||4.3 million|
|Average Concurrent Viewers*||2.3 million||2.5 million|
*Over entire tournament for MSI 2016, over finals for MSI 2017
The most comparable stats are shown above, though even average concurrent viewers isn't entirely applicable since they measure different time frames. Nonetheless, it may be concerning that the average number for the entire 2016 MSI tournament rivals that of just the finals of MSI 2017.
Before you break out the "League is dying" meme, consider the aforementioned unaccounted variables and unmentioned ones such as location and broadcast hours. Furthermore, note that this year's MSI had a number of total unique viewers comparable to that of Worlds 2016.
Speaking of Worlds, its viewership is on an upward trend from 2015, making it likely that the tournament will continue to break records this year. The global esports audience isn't going anywhere.
Image courtesy of Lewis' League of Legends