With talk of alleged budget cuts for Worlds and living every day under the shadow of Fortnite in Twitch’s viewership leaderboards, League of Legends fans were reminded today that their game is, in fact, not dying. At least not yet.
During the Asian Games finals between Korea and China, Twitch viewership of the nine-year-old MOBA game climbed past one million concurrent viewers, surpassing every other game on the streaming platform. That means that up to one million people were able to see Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao pick up his second international trophy of 2018 by winning for China. Not all of those one million people were watching the Asian Games, but most of them definitely were.
There’s much speculation about why so many people tuned in to the broadcast. The most common answer seems to be that China Central TV, the company that holds broadcast rights for the entirety of the Asian Games, opted not to broadcast any of the League games from the event—so fans from both China and elsewhere needed somewhere to go, according to one Reddit comment.
On top of that, all other Chinese streams of the event were taken down from traditional broadcasting sites to protect CCTV’s rights. This left Twitch as fans’ last attempt to watch the games.
These high numbers will hopefully serve as evidence for the next Asian Games to convince CCTV to broadcast it itself, because there are clearly a lot of fans that care enough to tune in for it.
Sure, all 1.046 million people weren’t watching the Asian Games, but most of them were, and most of them probably would again. That is, of course, if League is featured at the event next time, too.