Esports have been growing steadily over the last decade, but now it’s truly becoming a global force in viewing entertainment. We’ve seen streamers like Ninja play Fortnite in front of millions, but over in China and South Korea, records are being broken, with League of Legends pulling in an astonishing 127,551,726 viewers for their MSI finals match between South Korea’s Kingzone DragonX and China’s Royal Never Give Up.
This huge viewership breaks the previous record of 106 million, set last year in the finals of this tournament, and also featuring China’s Royal Never Give Up team. To put this in perspective, 111 million people watched the Super Bowl in 2015.
The data was tracked by eSports Charts, a company that analyzes the data and trends that stem from esports broadcasts. They place the vast majority of viewers in China, which makes sense considering the popularity of the game there, and clocked in over two billion hours of watch time from the region. That means a good majority of viewers tuned-in and kept watching. Taking China out of the equation, and the match “only” had 29 million hours of watch time.
China and South Korea have long been hotbeds of action for esports, so seeing the audience mature and grow along with the stars is no surprise, but to have over a hundred million people enthralled globally shows how far competitive gaming has come.