Intel & ESL welcome 173,000 at largest esports event in history

16 March 2017


Michal Blicharz, ESL

The numbers are in and the numbers are historic. This year’s IEM Katowice saw a record breaking 173,000 at the event over the two weekends. 

A prize pool of $650,000 (£525,000) was up for grabs across CS:GO, League of Legends and StarCraft 2. Flash Wolves won in League of Legends, whilst CS:GO saw Astralis walk away as champs and Jun “TY” Tae Yang took the top spot in StarCraft. 

Michal Blicharz, Vice President of Pro Gaming at ESL said: “I cannot believe the event in Katowice is five years old already, and every time it’s bigger and more amazing.

“We’re humbled and proud to be able to come back to this audience every year and share this wonderful experience with everyone in the Spodek Arena as well as the whole esports world watching.”

Frank Soqui, General Manager of the Virtual Reality and Gaming Group at Intel noted: “Intel Extreme Masters Katowice shattered all expectations with record breaking attendance and viewership. The gaming community’s passion for esports was on display and Intel is proud to continue delivering the best gaming experiences to fans around the world, whether that’s with IEM tournaments, driving growth in VR content, or improving how people play with Intel processors and technology.”

The Intel Extreme Masters World Championship 2017 also reached more than 46 million unique online viewers, which itself is a highly notable 35% increase from last year’s event. The event was the most broadcast event in ESL’s history, with 70 linear and digital partners worldwide who produced and distributed content in 19 languages. Through live streams, highlight clips, and custom features on both Twitter and Facebook, the World Championship reached 55 million fans on social media channels, shattering last year’s reach of approximately 30 million.

Thanks to Intel and ESL’s partnerhip with and WonderWorld VR the virtual reality stream saw engagement grow by 200%in peak concurrent viewers when compared to IEM’s first virtual reality live stream in Oakland. 340,000 unique viewers tuned into the VR broadcast.

Esports Insider says: This year’s IEM Katowice was bound to be a record breaker but these numbers are impressive. In particular the 35% growth in online viewership is testament to the fact that whilst esports has already ‘arrived’, we’ve still no idea how big it can get.