Given how long Counter-Strike has been part of the fabric of esports around the world, it's not much of a surprise how broad the game's appeal is. Over the last few years that's extended to the spectator base, thanks to the proliferation of streaming and the personalities within.
ESL's recent IEM Katowice tournament might not of had Valve's sponsorship, or the US$1 million prize pool that each CS:GO major will have in 2016. But that didn't stop it from attracting millions of viewers.
An infographic of the event was released this week showing off some of the impressive figures from the spectators and players. Perhaps the biggest one is the concurrent users: at its peak, Katowice had 573,090 viewers watching the event at the same time.
The event attracted more than 30 million sessions and viewers absorbed over 9 million hours of footage, an impressive return for the event and a game whose scene continues to grow in stature.
Compared to IEM Katowice from last year, however, the figures are down across the board. The peak concurrents on the English stream alone was over 608,000, while viewers watched 16 million hours of footage on Twitch alone.
But it's worth remembering how the scene has changed: IEM Katowice isn't a top tier event ever since Valve announced US$1 million prize pools for every CS:GO major this year. And major CS:GO tournaments have significantly better viewership figures, with more than 1.2 million concurrent users tuning in for a grand finals last year.
The first major CS:GO event of the year kicks off early next week in Columbus, Ohio. It's expected to dwarf the numbers of anything else, being the game's first million-dollar event of the year. (The finals for the ESEA/ESL Pro League and E-League haven't begun; they're still in the regular season for now.)