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Dota 2 helps e-sports league attract millions of online viewers to its main event

Above: A competitor at ESL One.

Image Credit: Helena Kristiansson/ESL

Germany just hosted one of the largest e-sports events ever, and it marks the growing presence of the ESL.

ESL One, the E-Sports League’s (ESL) major tournament, took place over the weekend in Frankfurt, attracting more than 12,500 in-person attendees. That makes it the biggest e-sports event in Germany ever.

Online, ESL One was gigantic. ESL notes that it had millions of viewers, with over 500,000 people tuning in at the same time to catch the action-strategy game Dota 2. ESL is continuing to establish itself as one of the biggest competitive-gaming organizers in the world, and these viewership numbers are evidence of that.

“ESL One Frankfurt 2014 was a major success for ESL and for e-sports in general,” ESL managing director Ulrich Schulze said. “Whether you were inside the stadium or watching online, I believe everyone felt the special atmosphere which made this an unforgettable experience for all gaming fans.”

Chinese team Invictus Gaming won the Dota 2 tournament. As champions, IG took home $84,000.

“The fans, the stadium, and the entire atmosphere were overwhelming,” IG player Hock “ChauN” Wong said. “It’s an amazing experience to play in such a massive stadium in front of all these people and you could feel the energy from the crowd all throughout the tournament.”

ESL has its headquarters in Germany, but it also holds events in other European nations. In August, the company plans to hold a major Counter-Strike tournament at the Gamescom gaming convention, one of the largest in the world, in partnership with developer Valve. The two companies are offering a price pool of $250,000.

ESL One is the first in an annual series of tournaments in Frankfurt. The association expects to return next year with more e-sports action.


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