The summer CS:GO major, ESL One Cologne, has begun – half a million viewers already

ESL One Cologne

The popularity of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, as we’ve all found out in recent days, has never been higher. While this has its nefarious uses, it also means the e-Sports business is booming, and it’s never higher than during major season. ESL One Cologne, one of the largest CS:GO tournaments to date, sold out of actual seats in its 14,000-strong arena last week. Now the tournament has actually started and viewer figures are already well past 500,000.

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528,413 souls are watching through Twitch, in-game or other services at time of writing. It’s not a record for viewership in any respect, but it is massive for so early in a tournament and outside of prime viewing hours – many Europeans are at work, while most Americans are just on their way there.

It is a very important tournament. While CS:GO remains without a be-all, end-all tournament like The International, Worlds or Blizzcon, each Major is considered as important as any other, and this one comes at the height of interest in the game. Kids are on their holidays, the top teams are even and everyone is, still, hoping that the North American players can start putting up a fight against European foes.

If you want to join in the action, here’s the Twitch feed:

If you want to follow along without the mediums of sound and video, Liquipedia is as useful as always. The most exciting group – featuring G2, Fnatic and the new SK Gaming team of ex-Luminosity players (aka, the best in the world for some months running) – starts in about an hour.