Last week’s IEM World Championship and EMS One tournaments in Katowice, Poland combined to be the highest rated esports event in European history, according to numbers just released by Twitch and Turtle Entertainment, IEM’s parent company.
With over 1 million projected peak concurrent viewers around the globe and 1,442 total years of video watched, Katowice 2014 more than doubled last year’s championship ratings. On Twitch alone, concurrent viewership hit 643,000. It also broke the previous records set by DreamHack Winter 2013, during which 791 years of video were watched by 2 million fans.
Katowice is setting the bar in Europe but it falls short of other esports events like last year’s Dota 2 International, which saw 1.1 million concurrent viewers and League of Legends World Championships, which boasts the record at 8.5 million. Both those events took place in the United States.
The League of Legends IEM World Championship final between the KT Rolster Bullets and Fnatic was watched by 511,000 concurrent viewers, making it the single most viewed match in ESL history by a wide margin of 209,000 viewers.
New records were set across all games. In Counter-Strike, 250,000 concurrent viewers and a $250,000 prize pool made it the biggest tournament in the game’s history, helping to set the tone for what promises to be a renaissance for Counter-Strike.
StarCraft 2 had over 150,000 concurrent viewers as well, an excellent showing for a game whose fans are constantly worried about its popular decline. Even an exhibition tournament for Hearthstone, Blizzard's collectible card game, at the tail end of the event attracted around 50,000 viewers at any given time.
All of these numbers topped DreamHack’s 2013 statistics by significant margins, a sign not only that Katowice was a superb event but that esports in general are growing. It will be no surprise if DreamHack, an iconic festival in its own right, is able to challenge and capture these records once again in the next year.
“It was only six or seven years ago that we were happy to see 12,000 concurrent online viewers on a single match,” Michał Blicharz, Managing Director of Pro Gaming at ESL said. “We had 12,000 watching matches live in the flesh in Katowice and hundreds of thousands online. This growth is simply mind blowing."
Twitch, which served the online video streams for both the Katowice event and DreamHack Winter 2013, has benefited enormously from esports explosive growth over the last four years.
Viewers from over 180 countries produced 23,164,454 video plays. As Stuart Saw, Twitch’s regional director, boasted, “Esports events now regularly attract a global audience which rivals cable and broadcast television-sized audiences.”
Check out all the stats below. Click for a larger image.