The annual event celebrated its 11th season and witnessed an increase in both attendance and online viewership. IEM is sponsored by Intel and operated by established esports tournament organizer ESL.
Biggest event in esports history
The main stage of Spodek Arena featured competitions in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, and Starcraft II.
Teams fought for glory and their share of the $650,000 prize pool, and the proceedings attracted a crowd of more than 173,000 enthusiasts over the course of two weeks. Additionally, the event drew a whopping 46 million unique online viewers, an increase of 35 percent from last year.
Simply put, these record-breaking numbers made it the biggest event in esports history.
“Intel Extreme Masters Katowice shattered all expectations with record-breaking attendance and viewership,” said Intel General Manager of VR and Gaming Frank Soqui. “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.”
Beyond live attendance, IEM also reached a couple other milestones.
IEM 2017 was the most broadcasted event in ESL’s history: the number of fans reached on social platforms grew from last year’s 30 million to 55 million in 2017. It also saw huge growth in VR viewership metrics. Above all, the event aired worldwide and was broadcast in 19 languages.
“I cannot believe the event in Katowice is five years old already, and every time it’s bigger and more amazing,” said ESL Vice President of Pro Gaming Michal Blicharz. “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,”
— Intel®ExtremeMasters (@IEM) March 16, 2017
Growing VR popularity
The organizers partnered with SLIVER.tv to provide the event’s VR broadcasting.
Through the new virtual esports stadium, fans were able to experience the immersive 360° VR space that included live stats, replays, and scores in real time.
Compared to IEM Oakland, the organization’s first event to feature a VR live stream, IEM Katowice saw 200-percent growth in peak concurrent viewers. A total of 340,000 unique viewers tuned in using the VR feature.
It wasn’t the first time SLIVER.tv and ESL partnered to deliver a unique VR experience. Last year, the ESL One New York event was the first esports tournament to feature a VR option for viewers.
Intel shows devotion to gaming innovation
Besides the tournament action, fans were able to experience an integrated showcase that demonstrated how Intel technology is pushing gaming innovation forward.
The expo offered powerful computer gaming on 7th Gen Intel Core processors, a VR games festival and tournament, interactive demos (including Intel’s Project Alloy merged reality headset), and VR viewing stations from SLIVER.tv.
In short, IEM Katowice was a smashing success.
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