League of Legends Live Streams
For esports, live streaming has enabled the general public to view some of the biggest events from around the world, which would normally only be accessible through attending the tournament itself. As one of the leading esports titles, League of Legends has helped the esports industry amass an estimated annual viewership of over 250 million people, many of which are now betting on their favourite LoL teams through bookmakers and online betting sites. The ability to watch games in which you have bet upon makes the process all the more exciting, with a whole host of providers now offering streaming services.
How to Watch LoL Live
While you can catch up with the latest news from a variety of sources, there is nothing quite like taking in a League of Legends match live. While attending in person is not so easy for the majority, a whole host of websites are on hand to help out. As a result of only a small proportion of the major bookmakers offering live-streaming of the main League of Legends events, streaming platforms such as Twitch, Dailymotion and MLG help to bring the action to millions of viewers around the world. As well as this, the largest media networks, such as ESPN, TBS and Yahoo, are also now starting to get involved within esports, with a whole host of LoL events now aired to huge audiences. The majority of action is available free of charge, while some platforms offer enhanced options for a small fee.
The Best Streaming Services Out There
There are a whole host of websites offering high quality, instant video streaming free of charge, with League of Legends undoubtedly one of the main reasons as to why people tune in. Whether you are a veteran or a new streamer, each of the options below bring different advantages and disadvantages with their service, with the choice up to you as to how you with to view major LoL tournaments from Europe, Asia and the US.
• Twitch – Launched back in 2011 and owned by Amazon, Twitch is perhaps the most popular streaming site for League of Legends fans. Twitch make it easy for players to share their achievements and communicate with other players, with their platform having shifted towards supporting larger streamers, at the expense of smaller players. More than 10 million visitors gather to watch and talk about video games, including LoL, on a daily basis, with a recent update now allowing users to rank League of Legends streamers by rank and champion. With most LoL tournaments streamed for free, esports fans can check out live action on an almost daily basis thanks to Twitch.
• Hitbox – Hitbox is a popular alternative to Twitch, bringing streamers, broadcasters and event organisers together in a bid to help them reach larger audiences. As a result of their site integrating effectively with different web browsers, their streaming experience tends to be faster and more error-free than some of the major competitors. Launched in 2013, their simplistic streaming platform quickly gained attention in the esports industry, with League of Legends live streams now featuring heavily on their site, from the World Championship to the Spring Split.
• Ustream – Having been around since 2007, Ustream have more recently moved into the world of esports, although they are completely different to the likes of Twitch and Hitbox. They are a video streaming and hosting site for those who can handle more bandwidth than most live streaming sites, using the same technology that powers Sony PlayStation 4’s video sharing feature, with the quality of their streams among the best around.
• Dailymotion – Part of the Dailymotion video empire, Dailymotion Games is dedicated specifically to gamers, with League of Legends events featuring heavily on their daily streaming options. Both casual players and esports champions take advantage of their service, while it is also a useful platform for keeping track of your LoL bets.
• MLG – Major League Gaming is a free to watch, premium video streaming platform, which is now huge in the world of esports. MLG help to promote esports titles, such as LoL, globally, as well as delivering premium gaming content to viewers on a daily basis through their streaming platform. With a live chat feature allowing viewers to communicate with one another, along with some of the highest quality streams around, MLG are only likely to gain more users in the near future. Perhaps the only downside is the fact that you have to watch streams through their own MLG player.
• Azubu – Having recently launched their 3.0 version of their streaming platform, featuring a fresh design, upgraded video player and a more interactive community, Azubu is certainly one of the leading names in the world of League of Legends streaming. Their open platform can be individually customised by users, making it much easier and quicker to locate their preferred live streams online. Despite having some teething problems initially in terms of reaching the masses, the fact that Azubu focus on all types of LoL events make it a viable option for all. So for those looking to not just watch the top-tier tournaments, Azubu is a great option.
As well as these streaming platforms, some more familiar names have also recognised the potential in esports, with YouTube, Facebook and Twitter now all offering League of Legends action through their streaming services. It is Twitter’s latest deal that has gained the most attention however, with the social media giants gaining access to 1,500 hours of esports events, which includes major LoL competitions, such as the DreamHack Series and ESL. Live viewing is now available on the web, as well as mobile devices, through the Twitter app.
Youtube Marches into Esports
Youtube has begun to make purposeful strides into the esports streaming sector in 2017. In March, the company signed a broadcasting deal with Faceit. The deal stretches over several years, and covers streaming of Faceit’s Esports Championship Series. Faceit is well known as one of the world’s biggest esports platforms, and had previously partnered with Twitch to stream coverage of its events. YouTube has also inked deals with two of the world’s biggest CSGO leagues in 2017. The video giant has signed up for exclusive coverage of the ESL Pro League and the Esports Championship Series, and is clearly focused on taking on Twitch when it comes to live streaming of esports events. Previously, many esports fans used Youtube as a kind of back-up to Twitch. After all, there was little need, or point, to watching live streams on Youtube when a spectator could view the same content on Twitch.
Now, much like in mainstream sports like soccer, where the likes of Sky and BT Sport engage in bidding wars to cover the biggest competitions, Youtube is looking to out bid and outmatch Twitch, mainly by bidding for exclusive rights to the biggest events. The ESL Pro League and the ECS are two of the biggest tournaments in the esports world, and Youtube is really putting down a marker by inking deals to cover them.
Youtube now has two of the biggest three CSGO events in the bag, and only needs to add StarLadder’s i-League StarSeries for the hat trick. The leagues to which it has secured rights feature the world’s biggest CSGO teams and players, competing against each other on an almost daily basis throughout the year. This means that, at a stroke, Youtube has become CSGO’s biggest home on the internet.
Twitch emerged and grew without much direct competition. Youtube is backed by Google, an organisation with a reach and power which dwarfs any of its rivals. Twtich’s streaming platform has also been subject to some criticism, as its advertising system can drain lower end computers, with viewers requiring strong internet connections to be able to watch without interruption. Youtube has a much more stable platform.
Indeed, its only real advantage over Youtube currently is its Twitch Clips feature, which allows users to clip, edit and share footage from streams. If Youtube adds something similar to its platform, Twitc should start to get really worried.
LoL fans, like their CS:GO counterparts, could soon be opting for Youtube over Twitch, which would alter the landscape of the LoL streaming universe considerably.
Social Media: A Goldmine of Esports Info
For the latest and most up-to-date information about esports, and for where to find the best streams for your favourite teams, using Facebook and Twitter is essential. It makes excellent sense for an esports fan to follow the social media channels of their favourite teams and players, not least because both Facebook and Twitter have now become content publishing platforms in their own right.
By following the social media channels of the top LoL players and teams, fans can gain access to exclusive media content, as well as live streams of specific events. As sports broadcasting of any kind becomes more fragmented and designed to suit individual, customised tastes, Facebook and Twitter can only grow in importance when it comes to coverage of League of Legends.