IEM Sydney 2023 breaks record for most popular esports event in Oceania

23 October 2023


Sarah Cooper IEM Sydney 2023
Image credit: Sarah Cooper, ESL Gaming

IEM Sydney, the first-ever Intel Extreme Masters event held in Counter-Strike 2, has secured a peak viewership of 460,000 viewers.

The recent Counter-Strike 2 tournament has also become Oceania’s most popular esports event ever, according to esports data platform Esports Charts, beating the likes of IEM Sydney 2018.

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Out of the five IEM events that ESL has organised this year, IEM Sydney ranks fourth in terms of peak viewership and last when it comes to average viewership (134,695), per Esports Charts.

Overall, the event places 11th when it comes to peak viewership compared to previous IEM Counter-strike competitions. However, IEM Sydney did perform significantly higher in terms of viewership than the last time the Counter-Strike event took place in the Australian city. In 2019, IEM Sydney recorded a peak viewership of 271,671 and an average viewership of 80,967.

IEM Sydney 2023 was ultimately won by North American esports organisation FaZe Clan after facing Complexity in the finals. 

The finals between both sides was the competition’s most popular game. FaZe Clan, in particular, was present in the top four highest-viewed match-ups at IEM Sydney. FaZe Clan, which is currently being bought, recorded a total of 3.3m hours watched, nearly 1m more than second place Complexity. 

The Oceanic esports event featured a $250,000 (~£204,000) prize pool and featured commercial partners such as Predator Gaming, 1xBet, DHL, Monster Energy, Coinbase and the U.S. Air Force.

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The clash between FaZe and Complexity was even more interesting given the fact that Complexity’s partner company GameSquare announced prior to the finals that it had purchased 100% of FaZe Clan’s stock, effectively starting an acquisition of the organisation. This has since led tournament organiser ESL to review the implications the purchase would have on its future Counter-strike tournaments. 

IEM’s next edition will take place in 2024 in Katowice, Poland. G2 Esports, MOUZ and FaZe Clan, the organisations that won IEM Cologne 2023, ESL Pro League Season 8 and IEM Sydney, respectively, have qualified for the $1m (~£820,000) prize pool event with the remaining teams selected through the ESL World Rankings.

Tom Daniels
Tom has been part of Esports Insider's team since October 2020 and is currently the platform's Editor. When not playing Football Manager, he enjoys reporting on the mobile esports scene as well as the betting sector.