The ELEAGUE Major concluded this weekend, with an explosive final between Danish team Astralis and Russian powerhouse Virtus.Pro. Despite a commanding presence during group stages, where they didn’t drop a single game, Virtus.Pro lost to Astralis, whose star has been on the rise ever since the end of 2016.
On Twitch, the match drew unprecedented viewership numbers: 1.26 million people tuned in to watch, according to Twitch’s Ben Goldhaber. While that number takes multiple channels into account, the main ELEAGUE stream broke records all on its own. By the second map in the final, it had already shattered the previous record of 890,000 concurrent viewers. Soon, they would number in at over one million.
And this isn’t even counting the viewers outside of Twitch. Youtube, along with various international streaming sites, hosted live broadcasts of the event, and TBS aired the finals on cable television. 2016 was marked by a series of high-profile investments in CS:GO, prompting some worry about whether audience interest could support the growing bubble. At least for now, it seems that these fears are unfounded; Counter-Strike is still the most popular esport in the western world.