While most news surrounding the coronavirus has centered around Asian territories, at least one esports event in Europe was semi-adversely affected this weekend. I say “semi-adversely” because, while it was played in an empty arena, the finals of the 2020 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice, Poland set an online viewership record, drawing over a million sets of eyeballs at its peak.
According to Polygon (via Esports Charts), the tournament peaked at 1,002,132 simultaneous viewers and just under 18 million total hours watched. The three-day tournament was capped off by a 3-0 sweep of Natus Vincere over G2 Esports. The IEM tournament for StarCraft II was also held at the same venue.
The coronavirus outbreak has already affected esports events and game development in Asia, as well as forcing the cancellation of GDC in San Francisco, scheduled for later this month. In the arena of traditional sports, the major Japanese baseball league is playing its spring training games in empty stadiums and is concerned whether it will start its season as scheduled, while American sports leagues are “talking to health officials” about the potential effects a virus outbreak could have on their leagues.