Brazil’s CBLoL overtakes the LCS in terms of viewership last weekend, marking the large difference in popularity among the two regions. The CBLoL Twitch channel almost doubles that of North America during their regular season matches. This raises criticism among the fans over the LCS’ status as a major region as an entire continent loses in the viewership contest over Brazil, who has been steadily been gaining more fans through the years.
CBLoL Twitch Viewership on the Rise?
While it’s exciting to see a minor region having that much viewers on Twitch, the truth is that they always had a steady growth in viewership unlike other regions that have already seen massive declines. The Brazilian community is extremely passionate about esports, whether it’s CS:GO or League of Legends, you can expect them to be supportive for the teams representing their country through social media and all the available streaming platforms.
Brazil didn’t just suddenly become popular. Their viewers are loyal to the league and have maintained their status throughout the years despite not being as internationally dominant in the League of Legends esports scene. Unlike the LCS, the viewers on the CBLoL Twitch channel are mostly natives making this an even more impressive feat. We can expect the LoL esports scene to grow even bigger through the years that will come.
What Happened to the LCS?
The LCS is arguably the region that’s made fun of the most. Despite being one of the four major regions, they perform really badly in international events, barely making the Knockout Stages and doing horribly during the group stage. While they are still better than most regions, fans are beginning to question whether they still deserve their spot as a major region despite the huge gap between them and the top 3 regions.
The LCS also doesn’t have as many iconic players as they used to before that made them such a prominent league internationally. The old generation of the LCS was arguably the best in terms of viewership because they had many names that every League of Legends players knew. Unfortunately, most of them had already retired and the region itself is undergoing a massive change in direction of either only getting foreign talent or developing younger players.
What Does This Mean For North America?
Very little changes to the LCS in terms of the Brazilian community beating them in viewership. This is definitely a huge win for the CBLoL, but not exactly a direct loss for the LCS since it doesn’t affect their standing over the league nor does it hurt the esports organizations’ business standings. The region still has over 30k active viewers, which is still a large number and is enough to keep the LCS afloat.
Viewership is not the main factor in the contest of relevance. The LCS will still remain to be one of the four major regions until the other regions start performing better than them on international tournaments by consistently being able to achieve higher placements in the tournament. In Worlds 2021, the LPL (China), LCK (Korea), LEC (Europe), and LCS (North America) were the only regions that were represented in the Knockout Stage.
The Power of Viewership
In the past, most of the international community didn’t really care for the CBLoL as a region, but recent performances from teams like RED Canids and PaiN Gaming had drawn the attention of fans throughout the world. In fact, some players have also amassed a fandom among Chinese League of Legends fans, who share the same passion as the Brazilians in terms of their love for their esports representatives. The CBLoL Twitch channel has also started to gain non-native viewers.
Viewership may not affect a league’s standing as a major or wildcard region, but it can help support their esports organizations to gain more exposure. As we all know, esports organizations that make a lot of money have more resources to develop their players and improve their facilities, keep star players from getting poached by major leagues, and hire better coaching staff. This can all be achieved if organizations can make more sales and gain more sponsors by gaining relevance among the community.
Can the CBLoL Become A Major Region?
There is a possibility, but not anytime soon. The region is improving quickly, being able to compete with top teams in the current League of Legends international competitions but that’s not enough for them to overtake the Top 4 regions. While North America is struggling to make a relevant performance in the international tournaments, they are still solid gatekeepers that keep both the intermediate regions and wildcards from taking their spot.
The VCS return to the recent Mid-Season Invitational has also showed us that they are a powerful force that can compete for the championship. Saigon Buffalo managed to get some upset victories despite only being the region’s 2nd seed (due to GAM Esports competing in the SEA Games). If we were to give the esports community 10 more years worth of competitions, the CBLoL might be able to reach the level of the top regions as well.
The LCS’ Road to Retaining Its Former Glory
If the LCS wants to grow their numbers and start beating the CBLoL Twitch viewership count once again, they’ll need to have better performances in the international scene. Local and international fans are simply too upset about the region’s performance both internationally and domestically. Many domestic games simply have too low of a quality to become interesting for a lot of viewers to watch.
Even if they no longer have popular players known throughout the world, they can still get a large viewership by catering to their local fans. League of Legends also needs to be more popular in the country, but the growth has been extremely slow as compared to other countries. Many other esports have been gaining more popularity in the west, making the fanbase in North America extremely split, which isn’t necessarily bad for the industry as a whole.