BLAST Paris Major falls short of CS:GO viewership record despite strong start

Over 1.5 million CS:GO viewers tuned in to watch Team Vitality raise the BLAST Paris Major trophy on Sunday, May 21, but despite a grand final boost, the tournament’s peak viewership fell well below record numbers.

In front of tens of thousands of Counter-Strike fans live at the Accor Arena, Vitality downed underdogs GamerLegion 2–0 in front of a home audience, with the star-studded French organization taking out its first CS:GO Major win in its sixth attempt.

The BLAST Major grand final would ultimately peak at 1,528,724 viewers and was by far and away the most-watched match at the tournament, according to esports stats site EsportsCharts. But, even with a solid viewership foundation built through the Challenger Stage, the event could not top 2021 PGL Stockholm’s 2,748,434 viewers.

Image via EsportsCharts

While the Paris Major was down on the IEM Rio Major for total airtime by a full 10 hours, the French event averaged nine percent fewer viewers across three weeks.

It is important to note official numbers may be higher given viewers tuning in via BLAST’s official website were not counted. But, even with these numbers, it is highly unlikely BLAST Paris would even come close to runner-up PGL Antwerp in 2022, which also clocked over two million viewers for the grand final between NaVi and FaZe Clan.

A number of factors may have contributed to a lower viewership total—the most glaring being the absence of the most popular teams and players in CS:GO thanks to a number of quite surprising upsets. Where the likes of G2, NaVi, or Cloud9 playing would have seen hosts of fans flooding to watch, squads like Monte, Into The Breach, Apeks, and GamerLegion shocked with impressive tournament runs, eliminating fan favorites.

Normally, the most viewed matches trend backward from Championship Sunday. But FaZe’s Legends Stage win over NaVi—denying the Ukranian org a 100 percent Champions qualifying record—clocked in at No. 2 for peak viewership, beating out the entire playoffs outside of the grand final. With even more heavyweights missing the finals, or in some cases the Major entirely, it is clear brand loyalty had an effect on viewership.

Related: Notable players and teams missing the BLAST Paris CS:GO Major

The absence of particular regional representatives may also have played a part. For the first time in Global Offensive history, no Russian players graced the Major playoffs, while the lack of a Brazilian team to support in the final eight heavily impacted South American viewership.

Brazilian commentator Gaules, who broadcasts the matches in Portuguese, peaked at 139,983 viewers for the Paris Major final—a full 400,000 fewer than the equivalent peak at IEM Rio, according to TwitchTracker.

Finally, outside of the grand final, the Paris Major was in contest with Riot Games’ League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational, which itself cracked two million peak viewers on May 20, ultimately topping out at 2,297,919 for T1’s five-match series against JDG.

While crossover between the events is unlikely to have made a huge dent in the Major’s viewership, it is still important to note the part it could have played in affecting overall numbers.

Many were hoping the BLAST Paris Major would contest for the most viewed Major of all time, and given the game is as popular as it ever has been—plus its status as the final Major in CS:GO—it wasn’t out of the question.

Alas, it wasn’t to be, with PGL Stockholm’s 2021 return to live Counter-Strike following a lockdown of offline events due to COVID proving too big a beast to defeat.

About the author

Nicholas Taifalos

Aussie Editor for Dot Esports. Nick, better known as Taffy, began his esports career as a commentator, switching to journalism with a focus on Oceanic esports, particularly CS:GO and Dota. Email: [email protected]

More Stories by Nicholas Taifalos