ESL Pro League Finals records 518,000 viewers thanks to Counter-Strike 2 showmatch, Intel Grand Slam

FaZe Clan winning ESL Pro League Season 17 finals
Image credit: ESL Gaming

The ESL Pro League Season 17 Finals, which concluded on March 26th, recorded an average viewership of 139,000 and a peak viewership figure of 518,000, according to Esports Charts.

The event — which saw FaZe Clan win and take home the prodigious Intel Grand Slam prize — also featured the first ever LAN showmatch of Counter-Strike 2.

The ESL Pro League Finals took place on LAN in Malta thanks to ESL Gaming’s partnership with GamingMalta, a Maltese government foundation. The tournament — a culmination of ESL’s month-long 17th CS:GO season — also generated 33.7m hours watched.

In winning the event, FaZe Clan additionally took home the $1m (~£816,000) Intel Grand Slam prize and title. The Intel Grand Slam is a prize awarded to the first team to win four major ESL events within a window of 10 consecutive events (including at least one of IEM Katowice, IEM Cologne or an ESL CS:GO Major).

The Intel Grand Slam prize money goes directly to the players, not the organisation. However, the ESL Pro League Finals’ separate $200,000 (~£163,000) first place prize pot will be welcomed by FaZe, which has been facing financial difficulties and a flagging stock price.

The 518,000 peak viewership figure is the second highest the ESL Pro League series has ever achieved, per Esports Charts data. Season 14 in 2021 saw a peak viewership of 759,000, though Season 17 beat out last season’s viewership figures of 510,000 peak and 161,000 average viewers.

Notably, the event saw the first ever LAN esports match for Counter-Strike 2, CS:GO developer Valve’s much-anticipated major new update to the franchise — which may have helped boost interest in the tournament.

The showmatch took place before the grand final in the new version of the game, which is currently in closed beta but is set to officially replace CS:GO when it launches this summer.

FaZe Clan’s Intel Grand Slam win is only the fourth ever iteration of the challenge. It has previously been won by Astralis, Liquid and NaVi.

Jake Nordland
Jake is Esports Insider's Features and Trending News Editor. Part of the ESI team since early 2021, he's interested in politics, education and sustainability in esports.