ESL, the world’s largest esports company, celebrated the grand finals of its decennial Intel® Extreme Masters season in Katowice, Poland with the largest and most-watched ESL event to date. The elite pro gaming tour crowned three champions on the main stage in Spodek Arena: SK Telecom T1, Fnatic and Polt in League of Legends®, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and StarCraft® II: Legacy of the Void™, respectively.
Over 34 million unique viewers tuned in to the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship broadcasts, with over two million estimated peak concurrent viewers across multiple viewing platforms. This viewership represents a 32% and 25% rise, respectively, compared to last year’s corresponding events. The aggregated numbers make the IEM World Championship ESL’s most successful online broadcast ever. The event also had the broadest distribution in ESL history with live-streaming and linear television broadcasts in 17 countries across 10 distribution partners. IEM Katowice was the first ESL event to be broadcast on multiple online platforms, including Twitch, Yahoo, Azubu and Hitbox.
This year’s event, consisting of the IEM World Championship tournaments and the IEM Expo, noted a 8% year on year increase in attendance, reaching 113,000 by closing time on Sunday, March 6th. The IEM Expo, which featured two tournament stages, and 43 booths from global partners, offered fans opportunities to try out brand new technology and upcoming games. The finals of each IEM tournament were watched by a capacity crowd of 10,000 in the Spodek arena.
The event broke all ESL engagement records on social media. ESL and IEM’s Twitter and Facebook accounts clocked over 3,200,000 engagements with impressions in the hundreds of millions. Nearly 1,000 posts reached well over 30,000,000 unique users on Twitter and Facebook over the course of the event.
This year marked IEM’s tenth year of creating monumental esports events. Over US$5,500,000 in prize money has been awarded at IEM events in the last decade, with over US$500,000 at the IEM World Championship in Katowice alone. IEM has visited 5 continents with 58 IEM events. As just one example of IEM’s meteoric growth, Season 1 topped out at around 500,000 video sessions, Season 10 hit a staggering 132,326,000 video sessions.
“Coming to Katowice for the event is the highlight of my year. Every second of the event can create a memory which is never forgotten and that’s what makes the magic of the event,” said Michal Blicharz, VP Pro Gaming at ESL.“If I were to pinpoint the reason why more people tune in every year, it’s that magic of our event that has a lot to do with it.”