On Sunday, March 1, G2 Esports and Natus Vincere met at the Spodek Arena in Kyiv, Ukraine in the grand finals of the Intel Extreme Masters XIV - Katowice 2020, where Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and company swept their French counterparts to hoist one of the most prestigious trophies in CS:GO competitive scene.
Although there was no live audience at Katowice due to the COVID-19 fears, the event did not fail to draw in masses of CS:GO fans, who tuned in to watch history being written on their TV screens. More precisely, IEM Katowice drew in more than 1 million viewers who watched NaVi stomp G2 into the dirt and hoisted their maiden Katowice trophy.
Up until this Sunday, only three esports organisations have ever been crowned as the champions at Katowice - Astralis, Virtus.pro and Fnatic, meaning that history was going to be written one way or another as G2 and NaVi stepped on the grand stage. Both teams had a phenomenal run up to the finals, which suggested this would be one of the most exciting CS:GO matches in years, and while it was nothing short of spectacular, it was NaVi who proved to the world they are a class above their adversaries with a clean sweep, which saw them lose only 19 rounds across three maps.
Even though the finals was a rather one-sided affair, the nature of the Katowice grand finals was enough to draw in masses of viewers.
According to Esports Charts, IEM Katowice grand finals bout between G2 Esports and Natus Vincere peaked at breath-taking 1,002,132 viewers. What's more, the next three most-watched games were NaVi versus Astralis at 721,315 peak viewers, NaVi versus Team Liquid at 553,573, FaZe versus NaVi at 545,232 and G2 versus Fnatic at 459,403 viewers.
Peaking at 1,002,132 viewers, the IEM Katowice is now the most-watched non-Major tournament of all time, and the fifth most-watched CS:GO tournament in history.
A lot of the hype surrounding the fixture was not only due to the fact that it was the finals of one of the most prestigious CS:GO tournaments, but also due to the exceptional form of NaVi players, namely s1mple, who was in phenomenal form throughout the whole tournament. The Ukrainian CS:GO superstar finished the series with 1.52 rating, put up a ridiculous 1.50 average across the playoffs and sealed the event with 1.33 rating across all fixtures. With 1.33, s1mple was well ahead of his closest suitor Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut, who posted 1.24 rating.
S1mple was also featured in the stats leaderboards in 13 categories, most notably his +119 KDD, Damage Difference per Round (+21.4), Kills per Round (0.83) and Success in the Opening Duels (73.8%). Due to his remarkable performance, s1mple won the IEM Katowice Most Valuable Player award, which marks his 10th individual honour, becoming joint second on the list of players with the most MVP awards, together with Kenny "kennyS" Schrub and Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund. Meanwhile, Astralis' Nicolai "device" Reedtz still leads with 15 MVP medals to his name.
Complete viewership statistics of IEM Katowice 2020:
Peak viewers: 1,002,132
Hours watched: 17,998,951
Average viewers: 273,057
Air time: 66 hours
Top-5 most-watched CS:GO tournaments:
ELEAGUE Major 2017: 1,331,781 viewers
ELEAGUE Major 2018: 1,329,096 viewers
IEM Katowice Major 2019: 1,205,103 viewers
FACEIT Major London 2018: 1,084,946 viewers
IEM Katowice 2020: 1,002,132 viewers