The eleventh season of the ESL Pro League was supposed to become a new beginning for the league, but the quarantine has caused the plans for adjusting the competition's format to become postponed. Instead, the event was adapted to the old format in a comparatively short amount of time. We have summarized the results of the new EPL season for the European and American regions in our blog.
The organizers have planned to introduce a franchise system, arena-based offline matches and much more. But the appearance of the coronavirus and the ensuing restrictions have prevented this, causing the 11th EPL season to adapt on the fly. This resulted in the return of the online matches, the return of the regional division of the competition, and the number of participants was increased compared to the originally planned one.
All of this has affected the championship's viewability. In case of America there was nothing phenomenal in terms of indicators, however the European division has shown us a new record for ESL. The match between Astralis and NAVI has gathered 489 peak viewers on the broadcast – which is the maximum result among all the stages of the ESL Pro League so far.
To compare, the finals of the 9th season (which was the one to hold the title of the most popular until now) have gathered a total of 422 thousand viewers. The difference here is that the previous record holder has gathered a large arena worth of viewers, with the participants being brought to the live LAN part of the competition. Understandably, the championship's 11th season has not featured such an approach due to quarantine, but this was hardly an obstacle for the competition.
This is not the first time for ESL to achieve a new record during a match that features NAVI. Previous time the organizer attracted one million viewers during IEM Katowice 2020 finals. The team has managed to set several new records at other tournaments before this one as well.
Natus Vincere remains the number one team in the HLTV ranking, which is a quite impressive reason for viewing the team's matches – making them viable not only to the Russian-speaking viewers but to the worldwide audience as well. This is proven by the European division's most popular matches list, with four of the five peak marks of this championship belonging to the "born to win."
Still, for the team itself it wasn't the first time to participate in the event's most popular match. During the previous season the team has attracted 188 thousand viewers in the European division. At that time the team has been fighting for the first spot in its group and the invitation to the league's final match versus G2. Amusingly, this can be considered a rematch – given that both teams have already met in the 9th season under identical circumstances, albeit the victory at that time went to the "samurai."
Looking at the other languages we see a slight change in the situation. Team Vitality becomes the most popular team based on the results of the French broadcast, while German broadcast attributes the largest number of viewers to the matches of team BIG. These reasons are pretty much natural: with nearly every big country having its own main team, it becomes inevitable for the importance of that team's matches to rise in the eyes of the local audience. But when such teams do not participate in the league, all these extra viewers go straight to the matches of NAVI.
Now let's return to the general results. Fnatic became the European League's second most popular team based on the average viewers indicator – gathering a bit more than 168 thousand viewers. When talking about the tournament's top 5 matches, the Fnatic vs mousesports match was also the sole match without participation of Natus Vincere. The Danes from Astralis have fell short of mere 1.8% from reaching the second spot.
The American division of the ESL Pro League has also managed to stand out. Despite lacking any sort of outstanding peak viewers mark, he has still managed to surprise everyone by gathering a total of 251 thousand viewers. Compared to the previous season of the American division, his result has increased by nearly 100 thousand viewers.
MiBR has shown the best result among the American teams. The Brazilian team has participated in every match from the region's top 5 most popular ones, with two of them being the encounters with another Brazilian team: Furia. This means that the American division owes a significant part of its viewability to the Portuguese-language broadcast. This time, the latter was responsible for the whole 38% of the tournament's hours watched indicator.
This was largely due to the activity on the channel of a former cyberathlete gAuLeS – who happens to be the main Brazilian CS:GO streamer. Naturally, the vast majority of matches involving local teams tend to bring tens of thousands of visitors to his broadcast. He has managed to set a personal record at EPL, with 150 thousand peak viewers visiting his channel at once – which is a further proof of his position as the community's most popular streamer for this particular discipline.
Other fans of CS:GO were also notable. The Russian-language broadcast of the 11th season of the ESL Pro League’s American division has gathered a total of 15 thousand average viewers – a result that's ten times higher than the one from the previous season.
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