Intel Extreme Masters, the longest-running global pro gaming circuit in the world, celebrated the start of its 12th season with the first-ever event on the Australian continent. IEM Sydney was played out on May 6 -7, when the world's best teams in Counter Strike: Global Offensive took to the stage at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney's Olympic Park. Over 7,000 fans on each of the event days filled the stadium, and nearly 8 million unique viewers tuned into the online broadcast.
An exciting group stage series featured eight international CS:GO teams, including two winners of the local qualifier, Vici Gaming from China and Chiefs Esports Club from Australia. Some thrilling upsets included a valiant performance by Chiefs in defeating number five team in the world, Denmark's North. Finally, four teams made their way to the IEM Sydney's main stage, and the leading Brazilian team SK Gaming took home the lion's share of USD $200,000 (AUS $260,000), the trophy, and the IEM Sydney champion title.
"15 years ago I dreamed along with my peers of massive crowds filling an arena to watch esports and this year we made that a reality" said Nick Vanzetti, Managing Director at ESL Australia. "IEM Sydney is the result of years crafting that vision and supporting the market, while building on opportunities. This is a new beginning for esports in Australia: we have set the standard and need to keep raising the bar."
"The support from the esports community in Australia was incredible to see and we're thrilled IEM Sydney became an immediate success, thanks to all the fans," said George Woo, esports marketing manager at Intel Corporation. "As IEM and esports continue to expand, we look forward to bringing Intel's leading technology to gamers around the world."
Along with the crowd of 7,000 fans attending the stadium event on each of the event days, online broadcast of the competition was delivered to 30 digital and linear platforms in 22 languages, and has reached almost 8 million unique online viewers, surpassing the unique viewership recorded for last year's IEM Oakland. Fan engagement on social media reached over 30 million unique users and generated 92 million impressions across all social media platforms.
Intel Extreme Masters Sydney was already the third consecutive IEM event that was broadcast in VR, solidifying Intel's and ESL's commitment to continue delivering legendary esports moments to fans on-site and online alike using the latest in technology and broadcast innovation. Over 150,000 unique viewers tuned in to watch the competition via SliverTV.
Additional competition and gaming broadened the event for attendees and viewers at the IEM Sydney Community Stage. Rocket League, League of Legends and SMITE: Battleground of the Gods were featured in highlight competitions, exhibition matches and panels. Fans also had the opportunity to get hands on play with the Hi-Rez Studios titles SMITE Tactics and Paladins: Champions of the Realm.
IEM Sydney featured three interactive experience zones where attendees received hands-on time with the latest Intel technology, including Intel's suite of gaming products and the biggest games of the year running on devices powered by 7th Generation Intel® Core™ processors. The Virtual Reality Showcase hosted competitive VR tournaments among attendees. Also On display were X99 and IEM-certified PCs, and computers equipped with Intel® Optane™ technology and Thunderbolt™.