Ticketek owner TEG has outlined the potential for esports to become a major player in live events following the Australian debut of one of the world’s biggest competitions.
IEM Sydney, which is one stage of the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) series of international esports tournaments, attracted a live audience of 15,000 and eight million unique viewers online earlier this month.
The Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) event, at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney Olympic Park, was promoted by TEG Live in conjunction with Electronic Sports League (ESL) Australia.
TEG chief executive Geoff Jones said the event had surpassed the company’s expectations for esports in Australia.
“The IEM Sydney was an amazing event with a highly-engaged audience, a great live atmosphere and a huge global viewership online,” said Jones.
“In time we will see the star players of CS:GO build profiles like the top athletes in other sports. It is a really exciting time for esports in Australia and TEG is delighted to be a part of the developments with ESL Australia.”
The Sydney event on May 6-7 featured some of the world’s best CS:GO teams, with more than 7,000 fans on each of the event days filling the Qudos Bank Arena.
The leading Brazilian team, SK Gaming, took home the majority of US$200,000 (£150,000/€180,000) in prize money.
“Fifteen 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.”