The first season of Riot Games’ official League of Legends: Wild Riftesports circuit is in full swing, although for now, it’s only the Southeast Asian region who’s having fun.
Wild Rift SEA Icon Series, which set the cornerstone for the esports scene of Riot’s new, mobile MOBA title, features seven region-specific tournaments in Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore.
Its first, five weekend-long Preseason stage concluded last month, with each of the competitions giving away $5 000 in cash rewards. Seven Preseason champions were crowned, and now, the qualifiers for the Summer Season are underway.
But before the main stage of the tournament kicks off in the summer, let’s take a look at how the Preseason performed in terms of viewership.
The Singaporean edition of the tournament was by far the most popular, reaching 135K hours watched. That’s almost twice as much as subsequent Vietnam with 69K hours watched.
Singapore also drew the most peak viewers — 21K, and the most concurrent viewers on average — 14K. Among the competitors, Team Sequence was the most-watched team (15.2K average viewers), followed by Impunity (14.8K AV), Alliance (13.5K AV) and Big Dirty Golems (13.3K AV).
The placement of regions was consistent across all categories. SEA Icon Series 2021: Preseason - Vietnam ended up second, reaching 10K peak viewers and 4K average viewers. RSG and Divine Esports were the most-watched Vietnamese teams, exceeding other squads in the number of hours watched by far. Yet, the most viewers on average attracted team CERBERUS Esports (5.8K), with the other teams mentioned being short only by a few hundred.
The tournament was also popular in the Philipines, where it hit 49K hours watched. The event reached 8K peak viewers and was watched by 2K viewers on average. All of the Philippine teams attracted over 2K average viewers.
The broadcast of the Thailand competition recorded almost 48K hours watched, 5K peak viewers and 2K average viewers, placing itself as the fourth most-watched Icon Series tournament so far.
On the contrary, least HW was brought by Indonesian (6K) and Malaysian (15K) editions of the event. Both competitions reached only a few hundreds of viewers, with Indonesia being the only Icon Series tournament that didn’t cross 1000 concurrent viewers, hitting only 818 peak viewers.
Looking at the Icon Series 2021’s viewership data, it is clear that Wild Rift hasn’t yet gained as much popularity in the Southeast Asian region as other mobile titles, such as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Arena of Valor. That’s nothing surprising, considering that the mobile successor to the original MOBA from Riot Games was released only half a year ago. Moreover, the series was only a predecessor to the main stage of the Wild Rift SEA Icon Series 2021 Summer Season, which will undoubtedly attract notably more viewers.
The statistic also clearly shows in which regions can Wild Rift esports expect the highest popularity and viewership numbers in the future, and ultimately — where is the new esports scene likely to develop at the fastest pace. Because it’s such a young discipline, its popularity has also a lot to do with esports organisations. Prominent teams have only started revealing their Wild Rift rosters, and the popularity of the discipline will progressively increase with the rising numbers of teams and their successes.
For now, it looks like Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines are the regions that favour the new mobile esport the most. That said, the upcoming Icon Series 2021 Summer Season shall give us deeper insight into the potential of League of Legends: Wild Rift.
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