Editors note: this article was updated to reflect new data from Esports Charts, revealing a higher peak viewer count.
The grand finals of the PGL Major Stockholm 2021 between Natus Vincere and G2 Esports on Sunday shattered the previous record for highest viewers of a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive match. The game reached over 2.7 million peak viewers, according to Esports Charts.
The peak, more than 1 million viewers ahead of any match in CS:GO’s history, was achieved during Map 2 of the grand finals. Na’Vi were on match point in the best-of-three, and the game was played close, going into double overtime before falling in favor of Na’Vi.
Na’Vi matches have continuously broken the previous CS:GO viewer record this tournament, which was — prior to the PGL Major — set at ELEAGUE Major 2017 when roughly 1.3 million concurrent viewers tuned in to watch the grand finals between Astralis and Virtus.pro. The PGL Major quarterfinals broke that record when a match between Na’Vi and Team Vitality drew a total of 1.3 million viewers on Friday. Now, the grand finals have broken the record again by a gargantuan margin of more than 1 million people.
⚡⚡⚡#PGLMajor Peak has been updated. Added statistics for some community casters (like @shroud).
New peak – 2 748 850 viewers@natusvincere vs @G2esports had more viewers than #TI10
1M+ viewers for English & Russian streams.@pglesports @CSGO
— Esports Charts (@EsportsCharts) November 8, 2021
Many viewers tuned in to see the coronation of Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, who was one of the greatest CS:GO players to have never won a major. The PGL Major is also the first after an extended two-year hiatus without majors on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. With Na’Vi representing the Commonwealth of Independent States region and CS:GO in general being popular in Russia, many of the 2.7 million viewers were watching the event on Russian-language streams.
On Twitch alone, more than 1.9 millions viewers tuned in to watch the PGL Major grand finals. The match propelled CS:GO ahead of games like VALORANT and Dota 2 in terms of highest peak viewers for a given match.
CS:GO majors have historically been some of the most-viewed online esports events, sitting only behind large tournaments for games like League of Legends, Dota II, Fortnite and a handful of mobile games. The highest viewer peak of any event was at Free Fire World Series 2021 Singapore with a 5.4 million viewer peak. Garena Free Fire is a popular mobile battle royale game developed by 111 Dots Studio.
All of the statistics provided above do not include viewers from Chinese platforms.
Coby Zucker is Upcomer's resident CS:GO writer. He's also played League of Legends at the collegiate level and is a frequent visitor in TFT Challenger Elo. He's a firm believer that Toronto should be the next big esports hub city.