200 million hours of esports content watched throughout the first season
COLOGNE/STOCKHOLM/NEW YORK – New esports champions were immortalized on the CS:GO, StarCraft® II, and WarCraft 3 trophies as the dedicated ESL Pro Tours for each game title completed their first full season with the 2021 Intel® Extreme Masters Katowice Finals. With an aggregated prize pool of $7 million across 25 tournaments and accumulating over 200 million hours of esports content watched, the ESL Pro Tour format has proven to be the most comprehensive and sustainable esports environment for players, fans, and partners.
“Even through the trying year of the pandemic, the qualities of the ESL Pro Tour design shone through and we were able to achieve what we set out to do in 2019 when we announced it,” said Michal Blicharz, VP Product Development at ESL. “Intel Extreme Masters Katowice was a crowning tournament for CSGO, StarCraft II and WC3 and provides a clear reference point in a strong ESL Pro Tour narrative, giving meaning and strength back to our other tournaments.”
Gambit Esports took down Virtus Pro 3:1 in the Grand Finals and won their first-ever IEM Katowice trophy, leaving their mark on CS:GO history forever. Taking home 400,000 USD of the total US $1M prize pool, Gambit Esports also gained a point toward the Intel® Grand Slam, working towards an additional US $1M. StarCraft® II history was also written, as the 18-year-old Italian Zerg player Riccardo “Reynor” Romiti became the first IEM Katowice StarCraft® II champion from outside of Korea, a feat unaccomplished in the previous ten IEM World Championships. He ultimately defeated Joo “Zest” Sung-wook 3:2 in one of the most thrilling StarCraft® II Grand Finals ever, taking home $65,000 from the total prize pool of US $250,000. The final match was watched by more than 77,000 concurrent viewers from all around the world, reflecting a revitalized StarCraft® II esports community and the success of the EPT format in the competitive landscape of the game. In WarCraft 3, Abdulaziz “CrunCher” Abed secured the win over former DreamHack Summer, Fall and Winter Champion Victor “Hitman” Lin to become the Champion of the DreamHack Warcraft III Open 2020 Regional Championship America, taking home the last trophy in this season of the ESL Pro Tour.
Across the ESL Pro Tours in CS:GO, StarCraft II and WarCraft 3, more than 1000 hours of broadcast were produced, cementing its place as home to some of the most well-loved CS:GO, StarCraft® II, and WarCraft 3 tournaments. Played online and broadcasted from a virtual studio, the production was yet another example of the unique capabilities developed by ESL during the global pandemic in order to maintain high quality and build on the position as industry leaders within esports.
For more information about ESL Pro Tour and the upcoming season, please visit the official website. The latest updates on Intel® Extreme Masters can be found on the tournament website, video footage is available on the IEM YouTube channel. The next stop for Intel® Extreme Masters is IEM Summer Online, celebrating the 16th season kick-off. Please follow Intel® Extreme Masters on Twitter and Facebook and visit the official website.
About ESL Gaming
ESL Gaming is the world’s largest esports and gaming lifestyle company. Since 1994, the company has been shaping the industry and leading esports and gaming innovation on a global scale across the most popular video games with numerous online and offline esports competitions, and through premier gaming lifestyle festivals. The company operates high-profile, branded international leagues and tournaments under the ESL Pro Tour, including ESL One, Intel® Extreme Masters, DreamHack Masters, ESL Pro League, and other preeminent, stadium-size tournaments. ESL Gaming also produces and hosts DreamHack Open tournaments, ESL National Championships, grassroots amateur cups, matchmaking systems, and DreamHack’s gaming lifestyle festivals — which feature everything gaming under one roof. ESL Gaming is part of MTG, the leading international digital entertainment group. More information is available at eslfaceitgroup.com.