Esports is almost at its prime after having gone through a decade of steady of growth to become the massive global phenomenon it currently is. This cuts across a variety of different aspects of gaming with the most notable being the impact that Esports is having on viewing entertainment both on television and streaming services. In fact, a number of records are being broken to that effect.
China and South Korea are the most recent record breakers after the MSI Final for League of Legends that pitted China’s Royal Never Give Up and South Korea’s Kingzone DragonX against each other drew in a staggering 127,551,726 viewers. This a significantly huge increase from the previous record’s 106 million figure that was set in 2017’s finals of the same tournament and also happened to feature China’s Royal Never Give Up Esports team. According to eSports Charts, a company that specializes in the analysis of data stemming from Esports broadcasts, these figures represent a great leap forward for Esports – for instance, it is now almost at par with the Super Bowl’s viewership that clocked 111 million in 2015.
The vast majority of the viewers were found to be from China, which should not come as much of a surprise since League of Legends is very popular in the country – the game boasts of over two billion watch hours in China. However, both China and South Korea have always been hardcore Esports action dens and thus the audiences in these regions have had time to mature and grow immensely which makes the disparities minimal
The viewership is certainly proof that Riot Games made the right choice when it decided to hold the tournament during times that favored the Eastern audience. This move was largely criticized and opposed by the North American and European communities but since it paid off quite decently, the company has very little to worry about.
The MSI finals for League of Legends has been touted as a battle for regional pride owing to the fact that it was majorly about South Korea’s dominance in the game since 2016 and China’s unwavering quest for redemption after having failed to make it to the finals in previous tournaments – the last time China nabbed an MSI finals victory was in 2015.
China’s Royal Never Give Up managed to achieve a 3-1 victory in the MSI finals series against now former champions Kingzone DragonX. The team also broke the record for being the first non-South Korean team to beat a South Korean team in a League of Legends tournament of this magnitude in the past three years: 1,106 days to be more precise.
Also, we cannot speak of Royal Never Give Up’s victory without giving Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao, who is now undoubtedly the world’s greatest League of Legends player. Uzi beat all odds and went on to win his second trophy after six long years which makes this tournament another career-defining moment for the Chinese League of Legends Superstar.
“I’ve been trying to win this title for six years now,” Uzi said on stage following the victory. “I can’t imagine I’m standing here with this trophy. I’m super excited for this moment.”