IEM Cologne 2021 had more viewers than people playing CSGO

Fariha Bhatti • July 20, 00:56

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s first LAN final after more than 500 days was an undeniable success, as broadcasts pulled in more viewers than the active concurrent player count for CSGO. 

CSGO saw a significant decline in popularity after most major events were shelved in 2020. However, the first LAN event since managed to wake up loyal fans from their slumber as the IEM Cologne 2021 grand final peaked at more than 843,000 live viewers.

CSGO is currently experiencing a dramatic dip in its player base, likely due to an update that reverted free for all status of Prime matchmaking. Numbers and statistics aside, the game’s popularity was also heavily clouded by the success of new rival shooter Valorant. However, the live viewers during the IEM Cologne final proved that CSGO is still in the FPS game to beat. 

Some people didn’t have high expectations for the final showdown between G2 Esports and Na’Vi due to the LAN hiatus and a decreasing player count. The big game still managed to boast 843,369 live viewers, according to echarts. While the numbers were still low compared to IEM Katowice 2020, which peaked at over 1 million, the IEM Cologne final surpassed the Berlin Major’s highest viewer counts. Overall average viewership remained stable at over 550K viewers, which is relatively high for Valve’s shooter. 

These numbers are massive since CSGO’s player base took a significant hit during the switch to an online format. The game lost about 16% of its player base and many top professionals players to Valorant. The player count has gone down to the extent that the live viewers at IEM Cologne 2021 streams surpassed the concurrent CSGO players active on Steam. At one point, only 600K players were playing the shoote while 660K tuned in to watch G2 and Na’Vi lock horns. 

The final map peaked at the highest viewership as NAVI stomped all over G2 esports in a 3-0 sweep and lifted the trophy under the open sky. The Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov-led roster left no room to breathe for G2 and denied them even a single map win. 

While the series was pretty straightforward, it still offered the classic CSGO LAN hype to live viewers. The decent viewership shows that CSGO hasn’t yet run out of steam. Fans now await the year’s biggest tournament, the Stockholm Major 2021, which is currently going through hosting difficulties

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