The LCS was back with a new invention in January, hosting its first Lock In preseason tournament—and the experiment paid dividends on Twitch.
With eight days of League of Legends games over three weekends, the main LCS Twitch channel racked up more than five million hours watched over the course of just under 50 hours of live coverage. Overall, the event’s live action averaged 103,819 viewers, according to stats acquired by Twitch tracking site SullyGnome.
Since this was the first time the LCS has hosted its Lock In event, there isn’t any year-over-year comparison for the tournament. But compared to early Spring Split action in 2020, the league saw notable growth.
The hype was real right out of the gate. The first weekend of the Lock In, which had 19 hours of live airtime, posted an average of 119,397 viewers.
The figure was 5,000 viewers higher than the opening weekend for the LCS Spring Split on Twitch last year, which averaged just over 114,000 viewers in 11 hours of live broadcasts.
In all, five of the eight broadcasts from Jan. 15 to 31 averaged more than 100,000 viewers.
Only four of the 2020 Spring Split broadcasts eclipsed that mark, including the Spring Split playoffs in April. The opening weekend was the only time the LCS regular season had more than 100,000 average concurrent viewers during a live broadcast.
This year’s Lock In viewership likely comes from a combination of early season hype for League esports and year-over-year viewership inflation on Twitch.
Last week, the LEC’s first week of games had a year-over-year jump in viewers. Additionally, Twitch as a whole doubled its viewership in January this year with more than two billion hours watched in the past 30 days. The platform hit one billion in January 2020.
The only potential pitfall for the LCS going into its Spring Split now is that the opening weekend of the Spring Split could lose a little bit of its magic. In years past, the league has seen its strongest viewership during the Spring Split’s first two days with fans excited to see league play for the first time in more than four months. The Lock In tournament could take a little bit of air out of the tires on that bandwagon.
But, relatively speaking, the addition of the Lock In tournament and its successful viewership will only add to what the LCS has fostered for years—one of the top esports leagues in the world.
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