LoL Worlds 2017 Draws Three Times More Viewers Than Stanley Cup Finals
By Bob Garcia
Esports reached new heights this year with multiple record-breaking tournaments. Once again, Dota 2 broke its own record for the largest prize pool in esports history – $23.32 million. Most recently, the League of Legends World Championship broke records for viewership, capturing 43 million viewers over 15 days.
At its peak, Worlds held 14.7 million concurrent viewers. To put that in perspective, it is three times more than the number of traditional sports fans that tuned in to watch the most recent Stanley Cup Finals – just 4.7 million over six games this year.
League of Legends has officially transcended the level of an emerging fan sport, reaching viewership on roughly the same level as the NBA Finals or MLB World Series; both of which attract approximately 20 million concurrent viewers.
Additionally, esports viewership has expanded beyond the young, in-debt student stereotype. According to the latest demographic research published by Esports Observer, 61 percent of exports viewers are over 18 and earn more than $50,000 per year.
Esports also gives its fans a lot more to view. Imagine being able to watch your favorite sports stars practice and hone their skills. This is precisely the offering that grew the streaming platform Twitch, leading to its ultimate purchase by Amazon for about $1 billion.
Video game streaming, from tournaments to practice sessions and everything in between, has become so popular on Twitch and other streaming sites it is worth big money to players as well. Streaming has evolved into a way for players to land sponsorship deals much like those found in traditional sports.