Despite "dead game" memes plaguing League of Legends all year, the LCS and most of professional League is on an upswing. According to a Nielsen market study in a recent Riot Games end of year report, the LCS is the third most popluar sport among all major league sports in the US, and they plan to keep it growing going into 2020.
While the demographic isn't all encompassing, 18-34 year olds is perhaps the most important audience. They are the inner circle in the venn diagram of "making (and, therefore, spending) money" and "young", making them a crucial target. Older generations won't be around as long, and younger generations can't help sustain market growth. So when it comes to growth and stability, a strong 18-34 market share is essential.
The study doesn't list what sports take the top two positions above the LCS, however, the report places them in the mix with professional football, baseball, and basketball. Mentioning pro League in the same breath as the rest shows how well established the game is and shows promise for a strong future.
As a disclaimer, the report is based solely off of Nielsen's findings on the LCS's total Live Average Minute Audience, which looks at the average amount of viewers over a period of time during the broadcast. This is said to be a more accurate way to judge market size than "peak viewers" or "total watched time", since it is more transferrable across different mediums and broadcast lengths. This data was also prorated by Riot, but doesn't explain how the numbers were affected.
Our Inven Global Data Lab (currently still in BETA, please let us know how you like it) goes a bit deeper in those other numbers as well. We cover the Twitch specifics from Summer, showcasing the total hours, peak viewers, etc. Interestingly enough, Facebook is still the best platform when it comes to LCS following, but YouTube and Twitch are where the games are broadcasted. Perhaps unlocking Facebook's platform would increase their AMA even further.
With the 10th season coming up, Riot is sure to have big plans to continue growth. Worlds has already been announced to take place in China, Riot's largest market, and fans can expect a large buildup throughout the year leading up to the tournament. Until then, rest assured the game and esport are doing fine! And with all the new games announced during the League 10 celebration and Riot Forge, Riot Games is having a great 2019.