The League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) reached new viewership heights in 2021, according to a recent announcement. Riot Games attributes this growth to the addition of the Lock In tournament at the beginning of the year while keeping interest for the Mid-Season Showdown.
Riot Games introduced a new start to the LCS season with the Lock In tournament which saw Team Liquid take home the title. That tournament showcased some of the most-watched weeks of the LCS Spring Split. Across all threw weeks of the Lock In tournament, the English average minute audience (AMA) was above 190,000 with more than 9.4 million hours watched according to Riot. That is 43% higher than the first three weeks of the Spring Split in 2020.
The Lock In grudge match between Cloud9 and Team Liquid had an AMA of 246,000 and peaked at 372,000 viewers on the English broadcasts. Team Liquid’s game-five victory netted them $150,000 with an additional $50,000 going to the charity of their choice for the first time in LCS history. This opening style of tournament for charity and prize money was a different way to open the LCS in comparison to the regular start from last year.
Riot Games continues to crush viewership in LCS outside Lock in
Outside of the 43% viewership increase from the 2020 Spring Split to the 2021 Lock In tournament, more people also tuned into the regular streams and Mid-Season Showdown more than ever before. From a viewership perspective, the LCS held strong with a 30% increase in hours watched for all of spring across all platforms and co-streaming channels. Friday matches also increased 70% in AMA since the introduction of Friday broadcasts last summer.
The Mid Season Showdown also saw more viewership this Spring with a peak of 416,000 across Twitch and YouTube. This was a 7% increase from a usual average AMA of just 281,000 from previous years. The LCS also remains the third most popular professional sports league in the United States among 18–34-year-olds based on the live average minute audience score.