IEM Cologne 2023, CS: GO's last trip to Cologne before taking sails and starting a new chapter in the highly-anticipated Counter-Strike 2, has become the most popular non-Major tournament this year.
Despite the recent decline in the game's esports viewership, the event racked up impressive numbers to become the most-watched Intel Extreme Masters event, surpassing all previous events held in Cologne.
With over 100 hours of airtime, the event accumulated 25,9 Million hours watched, averaging 291,894 live viewers.
According to escharts.com, though the event saw a slight growth in average viewers, the number of peak viewers dropped by 42% to 727,415 compared to 1,249,426 in 2022.
The decrease in peak viewers happened primarily because of the teams in the finals. In the previous year, the competition for the title was between FaZe Clan and Natus Vincere, two giant esports teams with the largest fan bases, in addition to being home for the best players with significant influence, such as Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyljev and Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken.
They had a stellar showdown, which went to the deciding fifth map in an action-packed series. But this time, the teams in the finals were less popular apart from G2 Esports, and the Grand-Final match had less excitement than it was one-sided.
The roster changes before the event was critical, as the matches became hard to predict with the current teams' level. This factor led to the early exit of many teams who could've brought higher peak viewers during the latter stages.
During the Group Stage, NAVI stood out as the most favored team. Even though they didn't make it far in the tournament, their three matches attracted the most viewers at their peak, surpassing the numbers from last year's stage.
The 2023 iteration of the IEM Cologne Group Stage and Playoffs surpassed its predecessors in peak viewership and average viewers, which is a good sign for the game's esports scene.
Understanding the impact many CIS and Brazilian teams have on the viewership numbers is essential. Brazil and the CIS region were crucial in elevating Counter-Strike's esports scene through the Portuguese co-streams that drove viewership. However, this halted in Cologne when the two regions' representatives failed to advance further.
Cologne was a breath of fresh air after unpleasant viewership numbers this year for the Intel Extreme Masters series in Katowice and Dallas.
Despite having almost the same airtime, Cologne surpassed Katowice with over six million hours watched and a significant 50,000 increase in average viewers.
After four years, IEM Returns to Sydney this October. It's time for a big reunion, as Australia's most prominent esports tournament returns to Sydney for the first time since 2019.
The city has witnessed some of the best Counter-Strike teams perform and lift the crown on their stages, creating unforgettable moments with the crowd. The hype surrounding the event's return to The Emerald City is expected to generate high viewership numbers. With the possibility of an official CS2 release, it's shaping to be another unforgettable event full of thrill and glorious moments.
Over the next two months, the revamped teams are expected to work well together and find their best performance, resulting in an exciting and impressive show for all fans. So set a reminder and clear your schedule because IEM Sydney will deliver.