The LEC Summer Split 2023 has concluded with the final between G2 Esports and Excel. However, the League has experienced a concerning drop in viewer numbers, raising questions about the reasons behind this decrease and how it compares to the previous year.
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The LEC Viewernumbers Dropped By More Than 50%
The LEC is the highest competition in European League of Legends and has been a viewer magnet for more than a decade now. It was expected that the viewer numbers might decrease after the hype years, which is normal. However, the LEC Summer Split 2023 has experienced a massive and concerning drop in viewer numbers, especially in the peak viewership.
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As per Esports Charts, the peak viewer number witnessed a decline of over 50% compared to the LEC Summer Split 2022, with approximately 344,000 users being the peak for this split .
In contrast, last year's peak reached nearly 733,000 viewers during the season's final clash between G2 and Rogue. The recent split's peak came from a regular season match between MAD and KOI, and the final between G2 and Excel was watched by only 325,000 viewers.
In comparison to the previous year, the average viewer number decreased from 212,000 to 172,000, indicating a clear popularity issue for the LEC. However, identifying the precise reason behind this substantial drop in numbers is complex and might be related to the League's format. Several factors could be at play, contributing to this decline in viewership.
Is The Format The Biggest Problem?
Examining the Reddit comment section beneath the thread discussing the numbers reveals various reasons provided by the community. One notable factor mentioned is the current format of the LEC, which resulted in a "meaningless" season final.
The user "hixagit", who wrote the most liked comment, stated:
Expected. The final was pretty much meaningless. No Worlds spot, nothing to gain for the summer final, played in the studio with a little crowd, no big opening ceremonies, no hype. Riot Europe has a lot to do to bring some meaning to the split winners in LEC because I don't think many care who wins those splits, and they seem way less impactful than the ones in the old format. And it was a quick stomp too + XL doesn't bring many viewers, which didn't help.
So in his comment, the user presented several reasons in just a few sentences. And he's right about many of them, the finals were pretty much meaningless since no Worlds spot was fought for. The introduction of the three-split system robbed some of the meaning and impact of the splits, so it didn't feel that important anymore.
Additionally, Excel isn't the most popular franchise in the LEC, which may have contributed to a decline in viewership, despite their commendable performances. Moreover, G2's dominant performance in the series resulted in a lack of excitement.
The user "aussy16" also highlighted the LEC's system as the primary reason for the disappointing viewer numbers:
Yeah not surprising considering the finals don't really matter at all other than for getting another trophy. I'm sure the actual LEC summer finals tourney will get more viewers, since worlds spots are probably what most viewers care about.
I cared a lot more about the games leading up to this match than this match itself, with who would get the last remaining spots.
It will be intriguing to observe whether Riot will respond to the low numbers and devise a new, more captivating system for the upcoming splits, as it is evident that this is one of the main issues. However, it's disheartening to witness the declining numbers in both the LEC and the LCS, indicating a waning interest in competitive League of Legends in the West.
Perhaps the excitement generated by the Worlds and impressive performances from western teams could boost viewer numbers for the upcoming splits. Only time will tell.
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