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The League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational is where the top teams from each region come together to prove themselves on the first international stage of the year. It’s a preview, of sorts, of what’s to come later in the season. This year, the viewership for MSI 2023 was a bit surprising, with both the highest and lowest viewership records to date.

MSI 2023: The Highs

First, let’s look at one of the most interesting viewership statistics from Esports Charts. According to gathered viewership data — which excludes Chinese viewers — the upper bracket final match between T1 and JD Gaming was the most-watched series in MSI’s entire history.

Viewership MSI 2023

The intense clash between two of the most popular teams from the LCK and LPL became a five-game series that lasted for over four years. The intense series resulted in JD Gaming getting a 3-2 victory over T1. The match also saw a peak viewership of 2.2 million fans wanting to see what would come of the back-and-forth brawl.

The previous peak viewership record was the final between T1 and RNG at MSI 2022 with 2.19 million viewers.

In general, MSI 2023 concluded with the highest peak viewership in Mid-Season Invitational history. The overall average viewership was a little over 766.8K, which is still a lot more than MSI 2022, which sat at 588.1K, according to Esports Charts. It was also higher than MSI 2021, which had an average viewership of 711.4K.

But that doesn’t mean it was all positive records at this year’s MSI.

MSI 2023: The Lows

While the event was an overall success, one shocking statistic revealed that MSI’s grand final was the lowest grand final viewership since 2019.

The match between Bilibili Gaming and JD Gaming, two Chinese teams, had a peak viewership of 1.1 million viewers. Compared to the past two years — 2.2 million in 2022 and 1.8 million in 2021 — and this year’s grand final was definitely a low point.

Again, Esports Charts doesn’t have access to data from Chinese streams. This means that the two teams’ largest fanbase in their home country would have boosted the viewership quite a bit — but not enough.

A tweet with unofficial Chinese data suggested that most Chinese fans were discussing matches between LCK and LPL rather than the finals, which were both LPL teams. 

It’s safe to say that the final match was not the most riveting storyline for most of the world compared to past matchups. Without the hype of two different regions attempting to prove themselves for the first time this season, it just wasn’t as interesting, dynamic, or meaningful as past final matches. The real final of this tournament clearly took place between the powerhouse Korean and Chinese squads in the Upper Bracket final.