Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM), the longest-running global pro gaming circuit in the world, celebrated the climactic finale of its 11th season as it returned to Katowice, Poland for the 2017 World Championship. The world's best teams, including champions from IEM Oakland 2016 and IEM Gyeonggi 2016, faced off on the main stage of the Spodek Arena for a prize pool of $650,000 in three of the top esports titles: Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), League of Legends, and StarCraft® II. With multiple global digital and linear distribution partners, an expanded esports festival, and the integration of cutting-edge technology, ESL broadens its commitment to showcasing legendary gameplay in the context of amazing event experiences.
"I cannot believe the event in Katowice is five years old already, and every time it's bigger and more amazing," said Michal Blicharz, Vice President of Pro Gaming at ESL. "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 Extreme Masters Katowice shattered all expectations with record breaking attendance and viewership," said Frank Soqui, General Manager of the Virtual Reality and Gaming Group at Intel. "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."
Double-digit growth across major metrics
Along with 173,000 fans attending the stadium event and surrounding festival over the course of two weekends, the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship 2017 reached more than 46 million unique online viewers, a 35% growth from last year's event. The event was the most broadcasted event in ESL's history, with 70 linear and digital partners worldwide who produced and distributed content in 19 languages. Through live streams, highlight clips, and custom features on both Twitter and Facebook, the World Championship reached 55 million fans on social media channels, shattering last year's reach of approximately 30 million.
VR broadcast popularity and engagement grows by 200%
Intel and ESL partnered with SLIVER.tv to give fans around the world a first-person look at the action with the new virtual esports stadium experience, which delivers an immersive 360° VR space that includes live stats, replays, and scores in real-time. The VR stream featured a 200% growth in peak concurrent viewers compared to IEM's first virtual reality live stream in Oakland, with 340,000 unique viewers tuning into the VR broadcast.
Four additional competitions took place on stage at the IEM Expo, including the Intel Challenge Katowice 2017 where the world's best women's CS:GO teams went head-to-head, the top Heroes of the Storm teams battled for the Western Clash title, and CROSSFIRE teams from across the globe participated in the CROSSFIRE IEM Expo Invitational. Polish esports fans were able to follow the Grand Finals of the Polish Cybersport Cup, that crowned two new champions in CS:GO and League of Legends competitions. This marked the first-ever double weekend Intel Extreme Masters World Championship, spanning Feb. 25 - 26 and March 3 - 5, 2017.
On site at Spodek Arena in Katowice, fans experienced an integrated showcase that demonstrated how Intel® technology is pushing gaming innovation forward. The IEM Expo included powerful computer gaming on 7th Gen Intel® Core™ processors, a VR Games Festival and VR tournament, interactive demos including Intel's Project Alloy merged reality headset, and VR viewing stations from SLIVER.tv.
Following two weekends of thrilling competitions and dramatic upsets, new winners lifted the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice World Championship trophy. Winners included:
- League of Legends: Flash Wolves edged out G2 Esports to become the 2017 League of Legends IEM World Champions.
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: Astralis outplayed FaZe Clan to win the 2017 CS:GO Intel Extreme Masters World Championship.
- StarCraft II: Jun "TY" Tae Yang took the top prize over Kim "Stats" Dae Yeob to become the StarCraft II IEM World Champion.
- Intel Challenge Katowice 2017: A collaboration between Intel, ESL, and AnyKey to advance diversity efforts in esports. In the end, Team Secret bested Team Dignitas to win the championship.
- Heroes of the Storm Global Championship Western Clash 2017: Team Dignitas barreled their way through a bracket of top Heroes of the Storm teams to claim their title as best in the west.
- CROSSFIRE IEM Expo Invitational: Chinese team SuperValiant Gaming took down three European teams to take home first place in the CROSSFIRE IEM Expo Invitational.
- Polish Cybersport Cup: Pompa Team was crowned the new champions in League of Legends, while PRIDE took the first place in the CS:GO tournament.
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