ESL and Intel recorded one of the biggest esports weekends ever during the Intel Extreme Masters event in Katowice, Poland from March 12-15, 2015. On the third event day, the Intel Extreme Masters and ESL One live streams reached a peak concurrent viewership of over 1,000,000 on Twitch, the world’s leading social video platform and community for gamers, thereby breaking the Twitch record for the highest concurrent viewership across a single event. The estimated global peak, across both Twitch and Asian streaming platforms, lies at approximately 1.6 million peak concurrent viewers.
Foot traffic was recorded at over 104,000 as fans from all around the world cheered teams and players to victory from within the Spodek Arena and adjoining International Congress Centre. More than 73 million stream sessions were recorded across all broadcasts, as five champions from four different games were crowned in Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One, ESL Legendary Series and Intel Challenge Katowice competitions. Each of the competitions at the IEM Expo 2015 broke ESL records to become the most watched streams in their respective games.
League of Legends®, StarCraft® II, Counter-Strike®: Global Offensive and Hearthstone®: Heroes of Warcraft™ fans pushed not only stream numbers, but also YouTube numbers to record-breaking highs. The ESL YouTube channel celebrated a total of over one billion minutes watched, as content from Katowice brought in more than five million views in the ten days that followed.
“It is amazing to see how in five years Intel Extreme Masters went from being a side show at a tech or comic expo somewhere to being its own exhibition with a truly mainstream level appeal,” said Michal Blicharz, Managing Director of Pro Gaming at ESL. “It is a massive turnaround that represents incredible cultural growth for eSports as a whole, with steady viewership that regularly rivals that of other major sports productions.”
“I remember what people were saying when we decided to take Intel Extreme Masters to the Spodek Arena in Katowice, the first stadium event for esports in the western world twenty-six months ago. People said that the community wasn’t ready for a pioneer event like that,” said Ralf Reichert, Managing Director of ESL. “Three seasons of competition later, I think we can safely say that esports can create unparalleled memorable experiences. The community was ready then, and they’re more than ready now. A very big thank you to everyone who made this event possible. We all share in its success.”
“Setting records is always expected with the IEM, but this was unprecedented. I haven’t seen an event with queues as long as in Katowice hours before the event started,” said George Woo, Global Sponsorships Manager at Intel. “Together with ESL we have created something truly iconic.“