SYDNEY, Australia — May 15, 2017 -- Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM), the longest-running global pro-gaming circuit in the world, celebrated its return to Australia across May 4-6, when the world’s best teams in Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) took to the stage at Qudos Bank Arena. Live attendance grew with over 7,500 fans filling the arena on each event day, while online viewership increased with over 13.5 million unique viewers tuning into the broadcast.
An expanded group stage featured sixteen international and local CS:GO teams, including local teams Grayhound Gaming, Chiefs Esports Club, Legacy Esports and Order. An upset early in the group stages saw Grayhound Gaming eliminating last year’s champions, Brazilian-based SK Gaming from the tournament. After making it to the playoffs in Qudos Bank Arena, the last Australian-based team Renegades were eliminated by Mousesports in an intense semi-final. In the Grand Final, runners-up from IEM Sydney 2017 FaZe Clan pulled out a 3-0 win against their opponents Astralis, and took home the lion’s share of $310,000AUD and the title of IEM Sydney 2018 Champions.
“Last year’s IEM event in Sydney was a seminal moment for esports in Australia, where hosting the region’s largest ever event propelled the scene into a new era", said Nick Vanzetti, Managing Director ESL Australia. "2018’s follow up had to be bigger, better and most of all, it had to capture the magic of the inaugural event. Everyone working at ESL had that mission front of mind in planning right through execution to the last patron leaving the venue. From talking to fans, I’m proud to say we achieved that.”
“Intel Extreme Masters Sydney has quickly become one of the most exciting tournaments in the region, and is a testament to the strength of the industry that is engaging more than 380 million fans around the world,” said John Bonini, Vice President/GM of the VR, Gaming and Esports Group at Intel Corporation. “At Intel, we know that the PC is the best place to game and our goal is to continue innovating in the technology that will reshape the gaming landscape.”
Online viewership & social media engagement
Along with the crowd of over 7,500 fans visiting the stadium on each event day, online broadcast of IEM Sydney 2018 was delivered to 56 digital and linear destinations in 20 languages, and surpassed viewership figures from last years event, reaching over 13.5 million unique online viewers (up +75% Year on Year). More than 8.4 million hours of content was watched by viewers, an increase of 232% YoY.
Fans were most vocal on Twitter this year, with the social media platform generating 35 million impressions, up from 22 million last year.
ESL Community Stage at IEM Sydney 2018
The ESL Women’s Sydney Open Presented by Vodafone featured at the ESL Community Stage this year, where the Sydney Saints picked up first place in the two-day live Women’s CS:GO tournament. Social media across the ESL Community Stage saw fans engage with local content over 11,000 times on all platforms, with over 500,000 impressions delivered on local channels.
Also featured on the ESL Community Stage was the StarCraft II WCS Challenger OCE-SEA qualifiers, which saw Seither and NXZ qualify for a spot at WCS Austin.
IEM Sydney featured four interactive experience areas where attendees received hands-on time with the latest PC gaming innovations, including Intel's suite of gaming products and the biggest games of the year running on devices powered by 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processors. Also, on display were the Intel® NUC, IEM-certified PCs and computers equipped with Intel® Optane™ technology.
For more information about Intel Extreme Masters, visit the official tournament website and browse the event photographs and video footage on IEM YouTube channel. To stay up-to-date on Intel Extreme Masters, follow on Twitter and Facebook.