Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM), the longest-running global pro gaming circuit in the world, celebrated its fourth stop to the Bay Area with IEM Oakland 2017. Part of the 12th season of IEM, more than 6,500 esports fans filled the Oracle Arena November 18 and 19, 2017. IEM Oakland generated over 28.6 million sessions streamed in 13 languages on 23 platforms, nearly doubling viewership from 2016. On social platforms, the event earned over 113.4 million impressions, showing a 39% increase from last year, with an additional 8.6 million sessions viewed, representing almost 50% increase. Online viewers of the broadcast consumed close to 7.5 million hours of content throughout the event, with over 10.8 million uniques.
Audiences watched on the edge of their seats as Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) beat out Faze Clan in Counter Strike:Global Offensive (CS:GO), taking their second IEM Oakland title in a row. Just before the NiP raised the CS:GO trophy, aAa Gaming emerged as champions over 19 other competing teams for the inaugural IEM Oakland PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) Invitational and the first PUBG competition to take place in North America.
The winning title for the third stop of the first-ever VR esports league, The VR Challenger League, by Intel, Oculus, and ESL, was secured by Reukifellth. The league, which showcases Oculus's The Unspoken, will continue to DreamHack Winter this weekend for the last leg of the event tour.
"ESL is always looking to innovate and bring new and thrilling titles to IEM. We want to create competitions for the best esports players in the world, but also put on an exciting show for the audience, both onsite and online," said Michal Blicharz, vice president of pro gaming at ESL. "We are pleased with the results of our second IEM Oakland event and feel that the additions of the The Unspoken and PUBG to the agenda brought a lot of excitement to the arena as they joined CS:GO on the main stage."
Not only was the CS:GO side of the stage competing for a $300,000 prize pool, but also a step forward in the race for winning the newly announced Intel Grand Slam. With NiP's triumph, four teams (SK Gaming, G2 Esports, FaZe Clan, and Ninjas in Pyjamas) are now tied at one of four victories to earn the $1 million grand prize.
"IEM Oakland delivered one of the most exciting esports competitions we've seen all year," said John Bonini, vice president and GM of the VR, Gaming and Esports Group at Intel Corporation. "We introduced some new experiences this year with PUBG and VR Challenger League, and they were a great showcase of Intel technology powering amazing gaming experiences for esports. We thank the athletes and community who helped make IEM Oakland such a thrilling experience, and look forward to taking this momentum to PyeongChang and Katowice next year."