The diversity of European League of Legends Championship Series can be likened to a double-edged sword. The cultured EU LCS showcases talent from across the European region, but is the breadth of languages and nationalities resulting in viewer alienation?
Viewership in the EU LCS is not what it once was, nor is it as easy to measure. The wide array of broadcast languages, stream hosts and channels has muddied the waters, but it is widely accepted that Europe’s viewership figures are falling short of those in North America.
With a World Championship to its name and a long-standing history of international success (at least when compared to NA), in addition to the combined population of every European nation to draw from as an audience, the EU LCS has all the means to be the dominant Western League of Legends eSports broadcast. It is a potential that the region is failing to live up to.
A range of theories have emerged in an attempt to find the solution for EU’s dwindling viewership: inconvenient scheduling, an uninspired group format and the gulf in class between regional teams have all been offered as validation for the fading interest in the European scene.
Within the League of Legends community, concerns regarding Europe’s ‘lack of engaging personalities’ are beginning to gain traction as a primary factor in Europe’s declining figures.
Though the EU LCS is proud to boast talent from across the continent and indeed South Korea, the emerging consensus is that it has become difficult for the average fan to engage with Europe’s diverse range of player personalities.
Speaking with TheShotCaller , one of Europe’s most popular and extroverted personalities, Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski, added his two cents on the issues:
“It does make sense to a degree, but it basically comes down to EU players not streaming as much.
“I don’t think a lot of NA players have a lot of “personality” either, it’s just that NA teams have way more fans because of streaming.
“I wouldn’t agree with this notion, I think EU has loads of great personalities – we just need to do a better job at showing it to the people.
“But I believe that this or next year more EU players will start streaming, teams will focus more on Social Media so more people will care more about the EU scene.
“I agree that we definitely could do a better job at showing our personal side to the people though.”
Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski
Is the answer as simple as European pros providing fans with more opportunities to interact with their favourite players through regular streams?
The benefit of regular Twitch streams and YouTube content is certainly evident within the NA LCS, a league considered to be rich with engaging eSports personalities.
The likes of Cloud9’s Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi and Team SoloMid’s Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg host some of the most popular channels on the streaming platform, Twitch, engaging with their respective fanbases and showcasing their unique personas.
Jankos is correct to suggest that few European talents can rival the content output of their North American rivals. Though perhaps the issue is less related to the regularity of the streams, but rather the intrinsic language barriers prevalent on the channels.
Jankos, for instance, can be regarded as one of Europe’s more prolific streamers, yet he presents his stream almost entirely in Polish. Whilst the jungler is completely entitled to stream in his mother tongue, it prevents a large proportion of the European audience from engaging with the H2K-Gaming star.
The European League of Legends scene does not lack personalities, rather there is a barrier preventing the majority of fans from engaging with Europe’s most popular players, that does not exist within North America.
The viewership of the EU LCS would undoubtedly benefit from a more consistent pro-player streaming schedule, though it is difficult to foresee a simple solution to Europe’s ‘personality problem’, given the language barriers that exist within the region.