Wild Rift Esports Near End After Poor Viewership at WRL Asia

Wild Rift Esports Near End After Poor Viewership at WRL Asia

The Wild Rift League (WRL) Asia 2023, the first-ever edition of the par-Asia esports tournament, has ended. The grand finals of the WRL Asia happened at the JD intel Esports Center in Beijing, China where Nigma Galaxy faced off against KeepBest Gaming for the title of world champions.

The Grand Finals was a historical one. It was the first time since the inception of Wild Rift esports that a major final didn’t just involve two Chinese teams. Nigma Galaxy, representing the Philippines, put an end to that streak by making it to the finals, where they were unable to leave a mark – getting ousted 4-0 in a one-sided series.

Despite the historical event, the WRL Asia 2023 couldn’t attract viewers and had a very low number of people tuning in to watch the competition.

Wild rift esports

WRL Asia 2023 records abysmal viewership

The Wild Rift League (WRL) Asia 2023 peaked at 9,185 viewers and had an average viewership of 1,446, per Esports Charts. The actual numbers might be much higher as Esports Charts doesn’t record statistics from China.

Nonetheless, the numbers offer insight into the state of the game in other regions. The WRL Asia was no small affair. It featured a long conference season across APAC and China, leading into the LAN Finale. The entire league featured a prize pool of nearly a million dollars.

Despite this, the viewership stats for Wild Rift esports are an indication of the sorry state of affairs the game has ended. Prior to its launch, Wild Rift was touted as the next big thing, ready to take on the challenge against MLBB and Arena of Valor. Riot was quick to announce an esports tournament for the game as well, hosting the Horizon Cup in early 2021. However, low viewership and reduced attention from the community brought Riot to announce that it was scaling down on the mobile MOBA’s esports scene in 2023.

This year, Riot decided to pull the plug on Wild Rift esports in the West, let go of a world championship, and replace the entire roadmap with a singular Wild Rift Asia League (WRL). The first season of the WRL was set to be a litmus test of the future of the game, and if the numbers are any indication, it’s not good.

Riot needs to step up to revive Wild Rift esports

Wild Rift esports

Wild Rift is an amazing game and a competitive MOBA title – indicated by its positive reviews across the board. Despite this, the game hasn’t been able to succeed within esports. The first tournament, the Horizon Cup, peaked at 62,800 viewers (according to Esports Charts), a great start for a new esports title. However, subsequent competitions started seeing a fall in viewers.

The Global Championship 2022, for example, could achieve a peak of only 54,000 viewers. While there were many reasons behind the lack of strong interest towards Wild Rift esports, one of them was the dominance of Chinese teams. Both competitions saw an almost all-China playoffs, deterring viewers from around the globe from tuning in.

Instead of creating new regional rivalries and cultivating talent, Riot decided to stop Wild Rift esports almost completely. To stop this rapid fall, Riot will need to step back in and commit to grassroots-level initiatives, more localized tournaments to hone talents, and host at least a Global Championship to offer fans something to aim for. Time will tell, though, if Riot decided to take a chance at Wild Rift esports again.

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