IEM Cologne 2021: how major events increase the popularity of esports betting


IEM Cologne is one of 2021's best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments. This newsworthy event brings together 24 teams from all around the world, has a $1 million prize pool and three stages of play. 


Counter-Strike is flourishing


Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the fourth game in the Counter-Strike series of games. As with its forerunners, the game is a multiplayer first-person shooter in which two teams (Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists) compete against each other in various game modes. 


Just imagine, the first release of Counter-Strike was published on November 9, 2000. This game has existed for more than 20 years. Even though the last game in the Counter-Strike series Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was released nearly 9 years ago, in August 2012, the game is still top-rated online and has millions of fans. 


According to Statista, as of February 2020, Counter-Strike had 24 million monthly active users, more than double the figure from May 2016. In May 2021, CS:GO reached more than one million concurrent players on Steam. 


More than just a game 


And what's interesting is, it's not just a game for millions of gamers, but for watchers of esports content too, of course. ELEAGUE Major, which took place in January 2018, was the most-watched CS:GO tournament that year, reaching nearly 1.9 million viewers. With such a large number of supporters, it is par for the course that CS:GO competitions are worth big money.


The game's annual cumulative tournament prize pool reached $21.77M in 2019. And in 2020, the estimated prize money for CS:GO tournaments stood at $15.85M, making it the online game with the highest cumulative prize pool in that year.


Gamers are not short of attention and cash rewards. For instance, the Danish gamer, a member of Astralis, Andreas Højsleth, known by his online alias, Xyp9x, has earned over $1.88M playing CS:GO competitively. Currently, he is in second place in the earnings table for players of CS:GO. Another Danish player, Peter Rasmussen, who goes by the alias dupreeh, occupies the first spot with around $1.91M. 


CS:GO betting


Professional gaming quickly became a matter of interest to sportsbooks. Today, as reported by iGB, the most popular esports betting titles fall under two categories. The first includes the "Big Three": League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. They're also some of the most popular video games globally. 


The growth of popularity of these games turned the attention of the majority of sportsbooks. Global betting operators are widening their portfolio with popular online PC games. Some of the most popular CS:GO events are commercial CS:GO tournaments with 24/7 schedules that allow sportsbooks to fill free airtime with engaging content.


Betting on commercial CS:GO events works the same way as betting on major CS:GO events. Bettors wager on various markets: the outcome of a match, top-performing players, final scores, etc. 


One of the platforms that provide fast and dynamic 24/7 esports tournaments is ESportsBattle. It is worth noting that the organizers of ESportsBattle CS:GO tournaments have noticed the huge spike in bettors' engagement rate in the run-up to big matches.


ESportsBattle & CS:GO


Because of increased global demand, ESportsBattle decided to expand its horizons and became the first platform to launch 1x1 CS:GO matches, guaranteeing beginner players an opportunity to have a shot at it. Earlier, ESportsBattle had only a 5x5 format and later became the first to offer 2x2 CS:GO matches.

This variety of formats and modes allows pro and amateur players to face off in EsportsBattle tournaments, develop their skills, and make money on it.


For bettors of  EsportsBattle CS:GO tournaments, operators  provide the following markets: match winner (2-way or 3-way), match handicap, total maps, correct map score, map winner (2-way and 3-way), total rounds. 


During July 2021, when IEM Cologne 2021 took place, ESportsBattle CS:GO matches chalked up far more views, which, in turn, led to increased bettor engagement. The number of views of ESportsBattle tournaments has risen dramatically: from 120K in June to almost 200K in July. 


Furthermore, the number of views increased by 73% from the beginning of 2021. Betting on CS:GO gives bettors a chance to feel even more engaged in the whole IEM Cologne 2021 experience, as though they are participating in the tournament.


Thanks to regular broadcasts of esports events that boosted the gaming, esports and betting markets began to enjoy particular popularity. Moreover, one of the betting operator stated that there was almost 40% uptake in the number of active bettors engaged with EsportsBattles’ CS:GO events between June and July. Since the beginning of 2021, the number of people betting on EsportsBattle CS:GO events has increased by 10,000%.