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With TSM dead, this LCS team is officially the most popular

TSM logo crossed out

The 2024 LCS Spring Split saw an increase in its viewership for the first four weeks of competition compared to the 2023 season, giving fans an idea of who the most popular team is post-TSM.

LCS viewership has been one of the constant topics of conversations in recent years. Despite being a major region, the North American competition is hardly on par with the LEC, LCK, and LPL when it comes to viewership or international results. It hasn’t been helped by popular players like Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng retiring or organizations like TSM walking away.

Making matters even worse is that in 2023, the LCS changed the broadcast schedule from weekends to a Wednesday and Thursday slot. This decision, heavily criticized by fans, predictably led to a drop in viewership. The kicker is a constant churn of unpopular decisions by Riot Games for the game itself, like changing how event passes work and pruning back communication options.

For 2024, the LCS decided to return to weekends and so far, it is paying off.

Due to a decrease in the number of teams competing, the LCS also adopted a new format. The competition is divided into two blocks with a two-week break in between. After four weeks, the first round robin of the season, the LCS has seen an increase in viewership but not how the competition expected it.

The 2024 LCS Spring Split reached a peak viewership of nearly 193,000 viewers for a match between Cloud9 and Shopify Rebellion, the team that replaced TSM. On the other end of the spectrum, 100 Thieves versus Dignitas was the least-watched game with 53,000 peak viewership. These figures come from Esports Charts. The viewership tally likely means that Cloud9 stands as the most-popular team in the LCS, while Dignitas and 100 Thieves rank among the least popular.

The improvement in the numbers can likely be chalked up to the schedule changes and co-streaming. Former League of Legends pro player Gustavo “Baiano” Gomes from Brazil and former caster Marc “Caedrel” Lamont are the ones behind the numbers. Viewers are opting to watch the LCS through the co-streamers instead of the official channels. While having more viewers is good sign, the source of these viewers might hint at a different problem.

A significant number of Caedrel’s viewers are European. Baiano’s audience is almost entirely Brazillian. This means the LCS is reaching new viewers but failing to make inroads with its target audience. North American viewers might be losing interest in League of Legends and opting for another Riot Games product, Valorant.

VCT 2024: Americas Kickoff is the first North American event of the year for Valorant. The competition is taking place in the same studio as the LCS, one of the reasons why the LCS is taking a break from using the space. The second day of the VCT 2024: Americas Kickoff reached an impressive 589,000 peak viewership, more than triple the peak viewership of the LCS this season.

A contributing factor to this number is the global nature of the VCT. In VCT Americas, there are organizations from Latin America, Brazil, North America, and Europe competing. All of these fans are tuning in to watch their favorite teams.

Meanwhile, TSM’s decision to walk away from the LCS looks more and more like a strong one. It hasn’t been entirely sunshine and roses for the organization, which had an awkward return to Counter-Strike and is effectively an agency for several streamers at this time. Cloud9 has seemingly taken TSM’s spot as the LCS’s most popular team, but it’s not yet clear how much that counts for.

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Written by Steven Rondina

Steven Rondina has been playing video games since he was a toddler and appreciates every genre out there. He has earned the platinum trophy in every Soulsborne game, is regularly Master Ball-ranked on the competitive Pokemon ladder, and has spent thousands of hours missing shots on Dust 2. His work has previously been featured by Bleacher Report and The Washington Post, and he was an Assistant Editor at WIN.gg. You can follow him on Twitter / X at @srondina.

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