The 2023 World Championship Play-In Stage has established a new viewership record with over one million peak viewers, and this could signal big things for Worlds 2023.
The biggest event on the League of Legends calendar officially began with the Play-In Stage, played between October 10 and 15. In this stage, seven teams from emerging regions and Team BDS from the LEC competed for the final two slots at Worlds’ main event.
The Play-In Stage was full of surprising results, including Vietnam’s Team Whales defeating Team BDS. In the end, Team BDS still managed to secure a slot in the Worlds 2023 Swiss Stage. The other slot went to GAM Esports from the VCS after a rematch of the VCS Summer Finals, where GAM defeated domestic rival Team Whales.
Worlds 2023 Play-In Stage sets new peak viewership
The Worlds 2023 Play-In Stage had a peak viewership of 1.3 million viewers, with over 22 million hours watched in total. In comparison with 2022, the Play-In Stage saw an increase of over 200,000 viewers at its peak. That’s about one fifth of last year’s peak viewership from a similar point in the tournament.
The Worlds 2023 viewership record is due in part to the new format used in the Play-In stage. Riot Games opted out of the regular group stage and single elimination bracket. Instead, the eight teams competed in a double-elimination bracket that led to qualification matches.
This simple change in format made the Play-In stage much more dynamic and attractive for viewers. Every series had a major implication and the teams were ready to fight it out until the end. As a result, viewership and general interest in this stage of the tournament was greatly increased.
This outcome is surprising considering the absence of popular teams from major regions. Team BDS is in its second year in the LEC, where it hasn’t achieved any significant results until 2023. There were no teams from the LCK, LPL, or LCS. But this still didn’t stop the new Worlds 2023 viewership record from being achieved.
The main event’s swiss stage could bring an even broader audience than the previous year. Every win and loss matters. Given the volatility of the current game meta, upsets are bound to happen.
If DRX proved something in 2022 with its victory, it is that dark horses and underdogs are the ones to watch. The new format is made for the underdogs.
Worlds 2023 resumes on October 19 with round one of the swiss stage with the following series:
- T1 vs. Team Liquid
- Cloud9 vs. MAD Lions
- Gen.G vs. GAM Esports
- JD Gaming vs. Team BDS
- G2 Esports vs. Dplus KIA
- NRG vs. Weibo Gaming
- Fnatic vs. LNG Esports
- Bilibili Gaming vs. KT Rolster