Riot Games first established a partnership with Nielsen in June 2019 to help identify returns on investment by sponsorship of League of Legends broadcasts. They’ve now expended this partnership to implement a new viewership system for their North American league, LCS. Dubbed “live+,” this measuring system will monitor video on demand viewership with greater accuracy.
How it works: The previous metrics used helped to identify the LCS as the third most-popular professional sports league among those aged 18-34 in the United States. The use of “live+” is an esports-first broadcast metric that will develop ratings in a new way. Not only will it still use the key “industry standard” metric utilized since the partnership was first formed, average minute audience (AMA), but it will also now factor in on-demand and replay videos to calculate audience figures. The metric is designed to mirror TV ratings, which has a time window of on-demand viewership alongside live audience to provide detailed engagement figures.
How this is good: The information collected by live+ will provide Riot Games with a method of comparing live and time-shifted televised content, which will be a first for the esports industry. Preliminary tracking from the 2019 season shows double-digit growth in LCS viewership through video on demand. A common criticism of esports viewership figures is that there is not established industry standard of measurement. Through the use of live+, this brings us closer to a metric that will provide the greatest value to sponsors and tournament organizers.