League of Legends is a free-to-play game and its monetization is based on microtransactions via special in-game currency called Riot Points, with which players can purchase champions, champion skins, ward skins, summoner icons, and multi-game boosts. The average annual spend on this in-game content stood at 92 U.S. dollars per gamer in the United States in 2019. Given the success of this revenue model, it comes as no surprise that League of Legends revenue has consistently exceeded one billion U.S. dollars worldwide in recent years.
Despite being over ten years old, League of Legends consistently ranks as one of the most popular video games in the United States. The game's enduring popularity can also be seen in the fact that it is played across all age groups, with 40 percent of League of Legends fans in the United States falling in the 25 to 34 year old category. Much like many online games of this genre, League of Legends is mostly played by male gamers - in fact, an estimated 82 percent of the game's fanbase in the United States is male.
Because of its multiplayer format, League of Legends easily transitioned from at-home entertainment to international sport. Each year, hundreds of professional tournaments take place around the world and culminate in one major event called the World Championships. The prize pool for the League of Legends World Championships peaked at 6.45 million U.S. dollars in 2018, before falling to 2.23 million U.S. dollars for the 2019 tournament. This latest edition of the tournament took place in Berlin, Madrid and Paris, and the prize money awarded to the winners of the final, FunPlus Phoenix from China, reached almost 835 thousand U.S. dollars.
With such large amounts of money at stake, it is no wonder that eSports viewers watch on in their thousands to see who will come out on top. The average viewers of LoL on streaming platform Twitch has been steadily on the rise, with events watched by an average of over 190 thousand viewers worldwide in August 2020. Despite the game entering its second decade on the market, its popularity among gamers and eSports viewers alike shows no signs of slowing down.