Over the past weekend we saw two titans of esports, League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, hold major tournaments. On Sunday the European and North American League of Legends Championship Series summer finals concluded with the Counter-Logic Gaming team taking first place for North America, $50,000 in prize money, and a ticket directly into the 2015 World Championship, and Fnatic taking home the trophy for Europe. Fans of CS:GO were entertained from Thursday to Sunday with the ESL One: Cologne tournament, a tournament partially sponsored by CS:GO developer Valve, with $100,000 going to the winning team and $250,000 overall up for grabs. The weekend was filled with teams from all over the world aiming to take the top prize.
Both esports events captured a huge number of fans, and CS:GO set a sixth month high for Twitch.tv view hours in a single day. Via Gamoloco, CS:GO averaged more than seven million hours per day across the for the four day event, peaking at 8.9 million view hours on Saturday. It should be noted the number of hours is likely skewed by users logging in with multiple CS:GO accounts in order to raise their chances to receive a free in-game item drop, so these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. The infographic below displays the game itself rather than the specific ESL One Twitch channel, which is to say there were other streams being watched for CS:GO and League of Legends beyond just the official ESL One and LCS streams.
By specific channels with each game, Gamoloco rates ESL One compiling 24.4 million hours (with another one million hours on the official “B Stream”) compared to Riot Games, developer of LoL, totaling just over five million hours over the past week. These numbers represent the English speaking channels only, with the Russian channel covering ESL One accumulating nearly three million hours, plus Polish and German broadcasts for each game.
The crowds at both live venues were impressive as well, with the League of Legends NA Summer tournament filling up Madison Square Garden with a reported 11,000 fans. Europe was no slouch either as ESL looking as though the Lanxess Arena drew a fair crowd as the header image would indicate, along with a large crowd at the EU LCS at Stockholm’s Hovet Arena. While it’s hard to compare a single tournament to the long grind of a sports season, the NA Summer event pulled a crowd comparable to the NHL’s Florida Panthers and more than the MLS’ Chivas USA, though both the Panthers and Chiva rank last in attendance for their respective leagues.
These impressive numbers aren’t even counting Dota 2’s yearly tournament, The International that was held from July 27 to August 8 to decide the world’s champion where we saw the single largest prize pool for an esports tournament. With the growing prize pool, interest level and time commitments being dedicated to esports — not to mention push notifications the ESPN app and score tickers (cap tip to HeyCJay from Reddit) and streams on ESPN 3 — it may be time to pick your favorite esports organization just the same as a football or baseball team.
(Header image via ESL Twitter)
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