MLG Counter-Strike GO Major Event Breaks Esport Records
Blizzard Media Networks, a division of Activision Blizzard, Inc. has announced that Major League Gaming’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championship set new viewership records during its March 30 – April 3 broadcast from Columbus. Audiences generated 71 million video views watched a record-breaking 45 million hours of live broadcast and set a new record of 1.6 million concurrent viewers across web, mobile and in-game streaming during this year’s event.
This breaks the previously-reported CS:GO Major record of 34 million hours viewed and 1.3 million concurrent viewers set at the 2015 CS:GO Major in Cologne, Germany.
“Last year, more than 225 million people watched competitive gaming, and the passion, engagement and size of this audience only continues to grow,” said Mike Sepso, Senior Vice President of Activision Blizzard Media Networks and Major League Gaming (MLG) co-founder. “As this year’s CS:GO Major numbers show, Activision Blizzard Media Networks’ commitment to broadcasting premium content and creating incredible events is resonating with players and fans around the world.”
Activision Blizzard have had their eyes firmly fixed on E-sports for a since October 2015, aiming to be the ESPN of E-sports with its Media Network Division. They signalled their intent by recruiting former ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein and MLG co-founder Mike Sepso to head the project. It was only late last year when Activision Blizzard purchased MLG.
Counter-Strike has been a vital cog in the E-sport machine. Present for over 15 years, ‘CS’ has seen its pro scene covered in printed press all the way to the modern means such as Twitch. This year’s CS:GO Major saw teams competing for a prize pool of $1 million . The event played out to a sold-out crowd of over 10,000 fans across three days. At its peak, 1.6 million concurrent viewers were recorded, with 68 hours of premium content broadcast around the world in 15 different languages.
The most interesting part of the event’s press release was the following -
”With over 225 million unique viewers, the esports audience is estimated to be bigger than audiences for many professional sports leagues. Creating premium content for these audiences will provide significant opportunities in ticket sales, advertising, sponsorships, licensing and merchandising. By 2017, esports is projected to have over 300 million viewers”
It’s clear that there will be a increased focus on premium content as Activision Blizzard’s interests in Esports continue to grow.