IEM Katowice was a success in every metric. The high profile two weekend tournament from ESL will easily become what esports fans point to when telling their friends that esports are here to stay. The event was record breaking in many ways, innovative in others, and lucrative as a whole.
The tournament saw 173,000 fans attend in person at the stadium in Katowice, Poland which is a greater than 50 percent increase against last year. Online, the event was just as successful breaking the record for unique viewers—previously held by 2016’s League of Legends World Championship—of 43 million handily. The event saw over 46 million people tune in over the course of the event with 340,000 of those using VR to do so.
It is likely that the event will be a landmark example for potential sponsors looking to enter the esports market.
As a method for sponsors to engage with fans, the story gets even better. 255 million impressions were generated by the event’s social media channels which makes it likely that the event will be a landmark example for potential sponsors looking to enter the esports market. Most avenues for advertising allow for little interaction but the digital natives that make up the esports audience are on every form of social media, sharing, clipping, and talking about the events they are watching.
IEM Katowice was also the most widely broadcast event is ESL’s history. The long-time producer and organizer of esports events had broadcasts in 19 languages across 70 media outlets and platforms. Business Insider points out that this shows just how lucrative exclusive broadcast deals could be. As esports continues to cross boundaries in audiences and platforms, YouTube has been signing exclusive broadcast deals and we can expect Twitch and YouTube—and soon traditional sports broadcasters—to be competing for broadcast rights in the future.