Were Dota 2’s International finals the most-watched eSports event of all time?

Dota 2

More than a million Dota 2 fans were watching last night’s International finals, all at once. That’s an astonishing statistic. In fact, there’s a very good chance Valve might have bested League of Legends’ Season 2 World Championships as record holder for the most-watched eSports event of all time.

Edit: One Facepuncher points out that Riot’s League of Legends All-Star Game in Shanghai this May pulled in 18 million unique viewers across streams and TV. Across the board, it seems we’re seeing fans drawn to important matches in ever-increasing numbers. Original story follows.

500,650 watching on Twitch were complemented by another 224,013 viewers on Chinese streams. A further 287,937 were following the match on DotaTV, Valve’s in-client streaming service.

That’s 1,012,600 viewers in total – discounting YouTube, TV broadcasts, and streams from Highwinds – which were recommended by Valve as an alternative to the inundated Twitch.

After the match ended this morning, Dota 2’s Twitch viewership dropped to around 6000.

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In October last year, League of Legends’ Season 2 Championships were declared the most watched eSports event of all time – boasting 1,154,000 concurrent online viewers at its peak, plus more than seven million watching on their TVs.

By contrast, Blizzard’s all-day Heart of the Swarm launch broadcast garnered 1.1 million Twitch viewers in total. Concurrent viewing peaked at 125,000.

“Anyone gonna doubt my prediction of DOTA2 passing LoL eSports viewership in 12 months?”, tweeted YouTube personality and commentator TotalBiscuit, a tongued smiley just barely masking his sincerity.

“Frankly I just can’t see it not happening. Similar to SC2, DOTA has a higher player/viewer ratio than other titles.”

He added: “If you have 4x the players and yet barely beat TI3 numbers, then you can see where things are going.”

He told one follower that LoL was less easy on the eye – a “colour vomitorium” in which you “can’t see shit”.

Is TB is onto something?

Read back our Nick’s Dota 2 International liveblog for a blow-by-blow account of the event’s last day.