After esports events had a bit of a slow year in 2020 in the wake of the emergence of COVID-19, the industry had a massive boom in 2021. Those effects stand out in the impressive viewership numbers these events have garnered.
Not one, but two different events this year set records for both most hours watched at a single event and peak viewership. And while some of that can be owed to a boost stemming from the inability to host in-person crowds, these are impressive milestones nonetheless.
Here are the most viewed esports events from 2021.
2021 League of Legends World Championship
With a strong viewership foothold in North America, Europe, China, and Korea, it’s no wonder that the 2021 League of Legends World Championship—better known simply as Worlds—set another high standard for the game and the year. Its peak viewership number cleared the four million mark, with 4,018,728 peak viewers during the grand finals between Edward Gaming and DAMWON KIA. The event also impressively averaged just shy of 1.3 million viewers with over 174 million total hours watched.
Call of Duty: Mobile Masters China Season 2
The second season of the CoD: Mobile Masters China competition absolutely exploded in total viewership this year. According to Esports Charts, it shattered the record for total hours watched for an esports event with over 281 million total hours watched, over 100 million more than the second-highest entry in the previously mentioned Worlds 2021. Running exclusively on Huya, one of the biggest Chinese livestream platforms, it also had an average of over 1.2 million viewers and a peak of over 1.98 million.
Free Fire World Series 2021 in Singapore
As arguably the most popular mobile battle royale game in the world, it makes sense that Free Fire‘s first global event of their 2021 season would have a strong viewership. Impressively, the first round of the finals of the Free Fire World Series set a new peak viewership record for esports events, with over 5.4 million people tuning in at once, primarily via the Booyah platform. In that first round, Phoenix Force would win their first of four rounds (out of a possible six) en route to a dominant first-place finish. The event also averaged over 2 million viewers during its nine-hour runtime.
The PGL Stockholm CS:GO Major
After a two-year hiatus, the CS:GO Major returned triumphantly with PGL Stockholm, finishing near the top of all esports events for the year in virtually every category and setting new records for each category compared to other CS:GO events. The peak viewership number of roughly 2.75 million viewers doubled the number previously held by the ELEAGUE Major in 2017, and PGL Stockholm’s 71+ million total hours watched cleared the now second-best FACEIT London Major by over 10 million.