ESL’s IEM Rio Major 2022 has become the third-highest viewed CS:GO Major in history following its conclusion on November 13th, when Heroic beat Outsiders (previously Virtus.pro).
According to esports data platform Esports Charts, the tournament saw 1.38m peak viewers and around 545,000 average viewers, placing it behind the two most recent Majors.
The tournament saw impressive viewership numbers, but fell behind the last two CS:GO Majors, PGL Major Antwerp and PGL Major Stockholm. According to Esports Charts, the average viewers for the top three tournaments were similar (around 550,000), but peaks were much higher at both the PGL Major Antwerp (2.1m) and PGL Major Stockholm (2.7m).
As Brazil’s first CS:GO Major and South American’s largest ever CS:GO tournament, ESL’s IEM Rio Major was characterised by loud, passionate support in the arena, particularly directed towards the tournament’s Brazilian teams.
The tournament was also notable because none of the top five teams in the world, per the ESL World Ranking, appeared in the semifinals, and only two of the top five made it to the quarterfinals. The tournament saw some major upsets, the most notable among them being reigning Major champions FaZe Clan getting knocked out by unsigned Kosovan roster Bad News Eagles.
The most-watched match of the IEM Rio Major 2022 was not the final, as is usually the case, but the quarterfinal match between Brazilian team FURIA and Ukranian-Russian powerhouse Natus Vincere (NAVI). This makes this Major the first one in history where the final was not the most-watched match of the tournament.
The FURIA-NAVI match saw 1.38m people tune in, while the finals between Outsiders and Heroic attracted 1.14m viewers, per Esports Charts data. FURIA was also the most-watched individual team of the tournament, with around 16.3m hours watched. Finalists Heroic came in second with 12m hours.
The tournament did have the most successful Challengers stage of all Majors, attracting around 700,000 people on the first day, but that did not translate to growth across the entire duration of the tournament. This could be attributed to the performance of the more popular organisations, and especially to the fact that the Major was won by a roster with no official organisation.
‘Outsiders’ was chosen as a neutral team name for the Virtus.pro roster after the Russian organisation was banned by major tournament organisers. The organisation was barred by ESL, PGL, BLAST and others following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine due to its connections with sanctioned Russian companies and individuals.
The Virtus.pro Twitter account changed its description to reflect a Major win, and the organisation tweeted an emoji after the Outsiders roster won the tournament. This is the first Major title won under the Outsiders name.