While history has been made today on the Rift, with Uzi and the rest of Royal Never Give Up defeating Korean juggernauts Kingzone DragonX 3-1 in order to take home the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational title, it seems that another historic mark has been reached as well.
Euphoric with their hometown heroes’ pristine showing against their rivals, Chinese viewers flooded in order to follow the series - and were apparently responsible for breaking the record of most viewers in a single match in esports history. According to Esports Charts, a website dedicated to collect statistics regarding viewership numbers across several esports titles, over 127 million people tuned in to watch the Grand Final, with over 126 million from them hailing from China – which makes that an incredible 9% of the country’s total population of over 1.3 billion – handily beating last year’s mark of 106 million, reached on October 28 during the World Championship semi-finals between SK Telecom T1 and the same Royal Never Give Up.
These numbers can prove that Riot Games’ decision to hold the tournament during times favoring Eastern audience – which was received with immense criticism by the North American and Europe communities – was a right one, despite ever present claims that the Chinese numbers are largely inflated by all big streaming websites, who use bots to enhance their numbers artificially as they seek to hold a bigger control of China’s enormous streaming and gaming market – proved for example by the fact that more than 110 million play League of Legends in the “Middle Kingdom”, spread across 30 different servers, according to the most recent data made available.
(Photo courtesy of Riot Games)