The popularity of eSports live events is on the rise, with August's The International Dota2 tournament concluding with a prize pool of over $22.7 million that handsomely rewarded the finals teams, and excitement building for Riot Games' upcoming The League of Legends World Championship (LoL Worlds).
Sector observers have argued that whilst the LoL Worlds prize pool is unlikely to top that of the most recent The International, it will certainly be competitive in terms of audience pulling power. They base their argument on last year's Championship finals, which were watched by a global audience of 43 million, reaching a peak of 14.7 concurrent viewers at one point…more than National Football League viewership numbers.
The finals of this year's LoL Worlds will take place in China in November, with the number of international teams competing up from 16 to 24, necessitating additional run-up events which should boost global viewership numbers.
The initial events commence tomorrow (September 23) and run through eliminating rounds to November 4, when the 80,000 capacity National Stadium in Beijing is anticipating a full house for the finals.
The big live tournaments will be streamed or broadcast free of charge using popular social media platforms like Youtube and Twitch, enabling millions of eSports fans to watch teams competing fiercely for a share of a prize pool that could reach $7 million from Riot Games and major sponsors.