The 2018 MSI Grand Final Was the Most Watched Esports Event in History

Nicholas Barth,

May 22, 2018 1:56 PM

The 2018 Mid-Season Invitational Final for professional League of Legends was a monumental esports championship match, as it surpassed over 100 million viewers.

The 2018 Mid-Season Invitational Grand Final saw Royal Never Give Up defeat KingDragonX 3-1 to claim the 2018 MSI Championship and become one of the few teams who have been able to defeat a Korean team in the finals of the prestigious professional League of Legends event. 

MSI 2018 not only made League of Legends history, as the popular tournament also made esports history with the 2018 MSI Grand Final Final between Royal never Give Up and KingDragonX becoming the most watched esports event in history with over 127 million viewers tuning into the action. The impressive viewing numbers were gathered by Esports Charts, which is a website dedicated to collecting viewership numbers across a multitude of esports title. Over 126 million of the 127 million viewers that watched the MSI 2018 Grand Final hailed from China, showing the immense popularity that League of Legends esports has in the region. 

(Source: Riot Games)
Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao led the way for Royale Never Give up in their championship run. (Source: Riot Games)

MSI 2018's Grand Final beat out the highest viewership mark that professional League of Legends saw from China last year during the 2017 World Championship semi-final match between SK Telecom T1 and Royal Never Give up where over 106 million viewers watched. 

With 9% of China's total population tuning into the final bout between Royale Never Give Up and KingDragonX, it is safe to say that Riot Games made a very strategic decision to host the event during peak times for eastern viewers, despite receiving criticism from Western audiences for the inconvenient times. With claims stating that the viewing numbers from China are skewed due to bots being used on the large streaming platforms that broadcast esports events in the region, some point to the astronomical viewing numbers from China as being inflated.

However, despite the claims, there is no denying that the Chinese market is by far the largest supporter of professional League of Legends, and the possibility of a championship victory by a Chinese team was no doubt a major factor in the historic viewership seen by the Grand Final of MSI 2018.

(cover photo courtesy of Riot Games)


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