League of Legends was well received upon its release, and has since grown exponentially in popularity, with an active and expansive fanbase around the world. By July 2012, League of Legends was the most played PC game in North America and Europe in terms of the number of hours played. League has among the largest footprints of any game in streaming media communities on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch; it routinely ranks first in the most-watched hours. In September 2016, Riot Games estimated that there are over 100 million active players each month, and in September of 2019, the company revealed that the game boasts nearly 8 million peak concurrent users each day. The game’s popularity has led it to expand into merchandise, with toys, accessories, and apparel, as well as additional tie-ins to other media through music videos, web series, and documentaries. League of Legends has earned praise for its diverse artistic and musical departments, particularly for its character design and production value. Various in-game champions comprise three distinct virtual music groups that have earned significant real-world attention: Pentakill, a heavy metal band, K/DA, a K-pop girl group, and True Damage, a hip hop group.
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League of Legends has an active and widespread competitive scene, which is commonly described as the preeminent global eSport and a major factor towards the industry’s legitimization. In North America and Europe, Riot Games organizes the League Championship Series (LCS), located in Los Angeles and the League of Legends European Championship (LEC), located in Berlin, respectively, each of which consist of 10 professional teams. Similar regional competitions exist in China (LPL), South Korea (LCK), and various other regions. These regional competitions culminate with the annual World Championship. The 2019 League of Legends World Championship had over 100 million unique viewers, peaking at a concurrent viewership of 44 million, with a minimum prize pool of US$2.5 million that featured a collaboration between Riot Games and Louis Vuitton. The 2018 Mid-Season Invitational had an overall peak concurrent viewership of 19.8 million, while the finals had an average concurrent viewership of 11 million.. League of Legends is the world’s most watched eSport, with total and peak viewerships that not only outdistance direct competitors such as Dota 2 and Fortnite, but other traditional sports events such as the Super Bowl.
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