The Verge is reporting that the October 3 League of Legends Season 3 Championship final was watched by a total of 32 million viewers, 8.5 million of which watched it happen live, via the internet. In addition, the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles where the event was held, was completely sold out and it seats just over 19,000 people.
As a result, it’s the biggest eSports audience in history according to the guys behind League of Legends, Riot Games. But more importantly, League of Legends’ numbers dwarfed simultaneous online viewership figures for mainstream events like 2011’s British royal wedding (300,000) and even 2012’s Olympics, which “only” reached 500,000 concurrent users at its peak.
Compared to last year’s event, it’s a huge leap. 2012’s LoL Season 2 Championship was seen by a paltry 8.2 million people in total, with only 1.1 million of that tally tuning in via their PCs.
While these most recent figures are huge, they’re still not quite at the level of other big entertainment events, like the USA’s Superbowl which reaches over 108 million people.
But for an event driven by game-loving geeks, it’s pretty darn impressive, and indicates a ton of interest in both League of Legends and competitive gaming that will surely produce ever-bigger events in the coming years.
Imagine that: if you’re just having kids now, there’s a good chance you’ll be sitting down on weekends with them as teenagers to watch not rugby, cricket or soccer finals, but live streams of whatever the game of the hour is.
Now that’s a future I can get behind.