The competitive CS:GO circuit for the year has come to end with the culmination of IEM Global Challenge 2020. This was a particularly difficult year for the tournament organizers as they faced unprecedented challenges and difficulties, especially when it came to maintaining the competitive integrity of the event.
As almost all the major CS:GO tournaments were played online the organizers had to come up with various ways to engage with the audience and boost their viewership. The experience was definitely not at the level of a LAN tournament but some events really stood out from the rest of the pack.
Here are the top five CS:GO tournaments that took place in 2020 which left the audience wanting some more of it.
5. DreamHack Masters Spring 2020
DreamHack Masters Spring 2020 was one of the best tournaments to take place in the first half of 2020. The online tournament like every other event this year was divided into four regions, featuring a total prize pool of $300,000 USD.
Almost every region witnessed a nail-biting grand final which made this tournament even more exciting. The breakout story of this event was the rise of the German esports organization BIG as they fought hard to take down G2 Esports after an initial ‘2-0’ deficit, this was the start of their short success story as they went on to win two more tournaments after this.
FURIA, TYLOO, and Renegades were the winners of their respective regions, with both TYLOO and Renegades facing some stiff competition on their way to winning the event. The overall highest viewership statistics for the tournament was achieved by the European region as a peak viewership of 276,959 was recorded during the grand final match between BIG and G2 Esports.
DreamHack Masters Spring 2020
Average Viewers (AMA)
4. ESL One: Cologne 2020
The ‘Cathedral of Counter-Strike’ ESL One: Cologne 2020 takes the fourth spot on our rankings for the sheer amount of competition present at this tournament. With a total prize pool of $500,000 USD, this was one of the biggest ESL tournaments of the year with a prime focus on the European region which received 65% of the total prize pool.
The highlight story of this tournament was Heroic’s rise to the top of Counter-Strike. The Danish lineup walked into this event as one of the underdogs, but as the tournament proceeded they slowly started to become one of the favorites, taking down Vitality ‘3-0’ in the grand final to be crowned as the champions of Cologne.
Evil Geniuses, Renegades, and TYLOO were the winners for their respective region. Even in terms of viewership, the tournament witnessed a peak of 331,644 concurrent viewers from the European region which eclipsed the other regions.
ESL One Cologne 2020
Average Viewers (AMA)
3. Flashpoint Season 2
After a turbulent start with Flashpoint Season 1 that took place in a studio environment initially and was later turned into an online tournament, the second season was a complete makeover as it turned out to be one of the best tournaments to have taken place this year.
The organization-owned league might not have had the best CS:GO teams in the world participating in it but the fact that there was a total prize pool of $1 Million USD on the line turned it into quite the tournament. It obtained an average concurrent viewership of 61,734 along with a peak of 204,826 which was observed during the upper bracket semifinal match between Fnatic and MIBR.
Instead of a particular team being the highlight, it was actually the content pieces generated by the organizers and their partners during the course of the tournament that blew the community away. From hilarious and edgy short skits that were uploaded on the daily to the beautiful and motivational player profiles, “content is king” was truly the case for Flashpoint Season 2.
2. BLAST Premier: Fall 2020
BLAST Premier was at its best during the Fall Series which took place from October to December. It is hard to pick out any one Fall Series tournament because all three of them together wove the perfect picture of content and competition.
Featuring a total prize pool of $725,000 USD (Fall Series Group, Fall Showdown, Fall Finals) BLAST Premier struck the right balance between top-notch content and great competition, which gave rise to multiple fantastic storylines along with a plethora of content.
The organizers focused on instant content pieces which were short clips of player reactions, their voice comms, behind the scene moments, and snippets of a longer interviews cut into smaller segments. This provided new content for the viewers all the time through the course of the tournament, never allowing them to have a dull moment and thoroughly keeping them engaged.
1. IEM Katowice 2020 - Last LAN CS:GO Tournament
The last big LAN CS:GO tournament that took place this year was IEM Katowice 2020 and boy was it a great tournament to watch. ESL did a fantastic job of keeping the show running as they made the best out of a bad situation, the tournament could have easily been the biggest flop of the year but quick action by the organizers turned things around for them and the CS:GO community had nothing but respect and applause.
With some of the best CS:GO teams of the time participating in the tournament, just before the start of the playoffs which were supposed to take place at the Spodek Arena in Katowice, the Polish government due to the looming pandemic passed orders which prohibited the gathering of a large audience.
So, ESL had to quickly switch the tournament into a studio event taking place in an empty Spodek Arena with teams competing against each other on the main stage. The tournament went on to hit a peak viewership of 1,002,132 during the grand finals between G2 Esports and Na’Vi, making IEM Katowice 2020 the most viewed non-Major CS:GO tournament ever.