Even though Counter Strike as a title is already 2 decades old, it keeps gathering people from all around the world to catch the most exciting games from its competitive scene. That is something that not even the most recent esports titles can boast about, and the thing about Counter Strike is that there are no signs of slowing down. The final match of the IEM Cologne broke the previous record set at IEM Katowice earlier in the year with a peak of nearly 1.25 million viewers.
The grand final of IEM Cologne 2022 was undoubtedly one for the ages, with the two best teams in the world in Natus Vincere and FaZe putting everything on the line in their five-map thriller. Neither side were able to close it out in the first four maps, setting up a historic showdown on the deciding Nuke, one which went the full distance and in the end saw Finn “karrigan” Andersen’s squad stand tall as champions.
The nearly 7-hour-long grand final made history as it became the most viewed non-Major match in CS:GO history, setting the record with a whopping 1.25 million viewers at its peak.
Not only did the grand final between Natus Vincere and FaZe decide who would hoist the trophy at the end, but also which of the pair will stand alone as the world’s No. 1 ranked team. After losing the spot last week to their Russian-Ukrainian rivals, the win is certain to put karrigan’s crew back on top of the world by the time the next update rolls out on Monday.
FaZe’s triumph also adds to their Intel Grand Slam tally, bringing the international team’s count to three and needing to claim victory at only one more ESL-sanctioned competition to take home the coveted Grand Slam and $1,000,000 in prize money. Should FaZe pull off the feat, Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken would become the first player in history to win the IGS twice, having previously won it with Liquid in 2019.
Despite not bringing home the gold, Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev set a record of his own by winning the HLTV.org x Bitskins MVP award for the second time at the Cathedral, also becoming the first player to win the medal multiple times this year.
The new viewership record surpasses that of IEM Katowice 2022, which was set at 1.12 million peak viewers as the world was treated to a riveting G2 – FaZe final, one which ended in a 3-0 sweep in favor of karrigan’s squad. As things stand, IEM Cologne 2022’s grand final becomes the sixth most-watched CS:GO match in history, only trailing IEM Katowice Major 2019, ELEAGUE Major 2018, ELEAGUE Major 2017, PGL Major Antwerp, and PGL Major Stockholm.
After the IEM Cologne, most of the teams will take a break for a few weeks, though a lot of amateur teams and tournaments will keep going. That’s the beauty of CSGO, you have matches to watch all year-round, 24 hours a day.