More than two years have passed since the release of Apex Legends, but its esports scene is still in limbo. Tournaments online during the pandemic, and the competitive season now consists of small competitions that follow one another. The main series (Apex Legends Global Series) celebrated its anniversary in late January, but the circuit still breaks the peak viewer records thanks to North America, which continues to be the game's most popular region.
What's happening with Apex Legends esports?
Apex Legends was released with a bang and all the leading esports clubs almost instantly decided to sign Apex rosters. As a result, within a couple of months after the release Team Liquid, Cloud9, Team SoloMid and 100 Thieves already had full lineups or at least several players.
However, just as quickly Apex burst into esports, just as quickly it went out. Six months after the release of the game, almost all the leading clubs left esports. Thus, the Apex Legends Preseason Invitational, which was held in September 2019, remained the main tournament (at least in terms of the prize pool: $500K).
EA and Respawn Entertainment had ambitious plans for 2020. They announced a series of regional tournaments with majors, and the total prize pool for the discipline was supposed to be $3 million. But coronavirus ruined everything and another wave of disbands from large organizations took place in the spring of 2020.
Now only smaller scale organizations remain in Apex Legends. And tournaments don’t gather that many viewers as the most popular tournaments are still the Twitch Rivals, which took place back in 2019.
Three Twitch Rivals tournaments are in overall top 5 Apex Legends events by peak viewers; Apex Legends Preseason Invitational didn’t even make it to top 10
Amid the pandemic, the Apex Legends Global Series has transformed into a series of regional online tournaments. In the summer of 2020, we reported that the most popular region of the game was North America. And nothing has changed to date.
The proportion of the popularity of the regions can be demonstrated by the results of the audience statistics of ALGS Super Regional Playoffs and ALGS Autumn Circuit Playoffs. Despite the huge popularity of the game in Japan, the competition in Asia attracted only 6.5K spectators at peak: this is only slightly more than South America’s peak which was at 5K.
Europe viewership stats are much better, its summer and fall competitions gathered 41.2K and 49.1K peak viewers respectively. But the region is not yet able to compete with North America: NA gathers about 1.5 times more concurrent viewers.
NA is still the main Apex Legends region
In early 2021, both Europe and North America renewed their peak viewers records in the series. At the first ALGS Winter Circuit Europe attracted more than 72K spectators at peak, and over 101K people simultaneously watched the games in North America. Note that the numbers are based not only on the official broadcasts of the tournament: the games were also streamed by the participants themselves, so their viewers numbers are also taken into account in the statistics.
Interestingly, now the top 5 Apex Legends Global Series events entirely consist of NA events. Moreover, the second place also went to ALGS Winter Circuit 2021: almost 89K spectators watched the second tournament at its peak.
Two NA tournaments in 2021 took first and second places by peak viewers in ALGS history
Apex Legends is still very far from the numbers of 2019, but it must be remembered that so far only regular championships are taking place in ALGS: not a single major has been held so far.
Following the Winter Circuit and last chance qualifiers the first truly major event in 1.5 years is about to start: Apex Legends Global Series Championship 2021 with a million dollar prize pool. If the dynamics continue, one might expect new records in viewership statistics: at least within the ALGS series.