Even those still struggling to understand the eSports explosion can no longer deny the dollars and demand for coverage.
Record breaking attendance, viewership and prize pools have become routine and last weekend was no different, as video games helped fill notable stadiums around the world:
CS:GO leads the way
None of which had more success than ESL’s newly named Valve Major Championship and first standalone Counter Strike: Global Offensive event, held at the Lanxess Arena (Germany’s largest indoor arena) in Cologne.
The largest all-CS event with its $250,000 purse, announced it split a record $4.2 million among teams, raised mostly through team sticker sales.
That’s nearly three times much as the previous mark set in March.
The four-day tournament also set a record for viewership with 27 million unique set of eye balls, including 1.3 concurrent.
That’s a 30 percent increase from the last CS event.
ESL One dwarfed formidable foe League of Legends and its regional finals in hours watched via Twitch, which doesn’t include the 11,000 spectators to pass through the doors each day.
Two tournaments from LoL
The east coast hosted its first League of Legends major thanks to the North America LCS Finals migration to the big stage at Madison Square Garden in New York.
With an average attendance of 11,000 over two-days, the sold-out event did about two-thirds of what the Knicks pull on a given night during the NBA season.
“Holding an event inside of MSG, which has been so synonymous with epic sports clashes and rock shows for decades, is crazy exciting and really humbling. As sports fans, we’re aware of the fact that this is a significant step for eSports,” Riot VP of eSports Dustin Beck told theScore over the summer.
The event, formerly played at Pax Prime in Seattle, carried over its prize pool of $100,000.
In similar fashion the $100K EU LCS Finals held at the Hovet Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, sold-out, packing in more than 9,000 fans, which thanks to staggered timing, could spectate in peace knowing they wouldn’t be missing any action LCS action.
Worlds will spend the month of October making stops in Paris (group stage), London (quarterfinals) and Brussels (semifinals), ending with the final in Berlin on Oct. 31.
- Group Stages: Oct. 1-4 and Oct. 8-11 – Le Dock Pullman, Paris
- Quarterfinals: Oct. 15-18 – SSE Arena Wembley, London
- Semifinals: Oct. 24-25 – Brussels Expo, Brussels
- Finals: Oct. 31 – Mercedes-Benz Arena (currently O2 World – Berlin)
Hearthstone picking up steam
While certainly not the drawing powering of CS or LoL, the card game continues to carve out its niche among an audience hungry for more.
Photos of the OGN Masters (Korea) Season 3 Finals on the beach in Busan, South Korea, rivaling those of the scenes in Cologne, New York and Stockholm over the weekend, proved that.
Put on by OnGameNet Global TV Network, prize money has been slow to catch up to viewers, but drawing large crowds in an eSports stronghold like South Korea only means good things for the Hearthstone scene as a whole going forward.
OGN Masters Final isn’t a top 10 tournament yet, but it’s knocking on the door with its $24,200 prize pool.