When it comes to Brazilian Counter-Strike, the word is: Passion.
All great moments, all great teams, all great things that come to this region, come from passion. Whether it’s the WCG days or the Luminosity Era, Brazil’s greatest moments always stem from their unrivaled passion for the game. The IEM Rio Major is no different.
“The reason Intel®Extreme Masters is coming to Brazil is because of the loyal fanbase and passionate community.” A representative from ESL told us. “This will be the 18th CS:GO Major since the first in 2013 and with how much international glory Brazilian teams have seen, with how many tournaments the fans have only been able to watch online, they fully deserve to have their first-ever CS:GO Major.”
We couldn’t agree more – and that passion is a big part of why we’re sponsoring the IEM Rio Major. IEM is one of the biggest names in the competitive CS scene – a host to the most legendary moments in the game. Likewise, Monster has been one of the leading sponsors in the CS scene for years! So, for both ESL and Monster, it’s easy to recognize and feel the passion from the Brazilian community.
“We can feel—and almost hear—the community every time we have updates to share. Every news article or social media message is met with an unrivaled response. We are excited to get ourselves, the best players, teams, and broadcast talent in the world to Rio to join with the most passionate fans to create one of the most electrifying esports tournaments of all time.”
“In all honesty, we've been wanting to return to Brazil with IEM for a while and when this opportunity presented itself, it was an absolute no-brainer.”
ESL’s own excitement shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. They wanted to host a Brazilian Major two years prior, only to be shut down by an Earth-shaking pandemic. Since then, ESL’s main priority has been returning to Brazil in a way that would be safe, responsible, and epic.
“Together with Valve, we have been looking for the right spot in the calendar to finally return to Brazil. As a safe environment for players, fans, staff, and partners alike is a top priority for us, we only started hosting live arena events again earlier this year, starting with IEM Katowice 2022. Now we believe the time is right to pull off one of the greatest esports events of all time, without being too hindered by external factors.”
For Brazilian fans, even a two-year wait may have felt brutal. But if ESL rushed the return, they risked event restrictions, further cancellation, and safety issues that wouldn’t be doing justice to the first-ever Brazilian Major. One such restriction could have been audience size—something that raised concern earlier in the year and has since governed ESL’s approach to the Major.
“The decision to go is primarily by the community and wanting to establish more regular competition within South America.”
“We were blown away by the amazing support from the Brazilian community when the event initially sold out in 2020. Well, we repeated this in 2022 when we went back on sale. This led to our expansion of the event to support more fans in the Jeunesse Arena for the Champions Stage, but also allowing for an audience during the Challengers Stage and Legends Stage.”
A part of this process was changing their planned arena layout to a 360 degree format that would let ESL seat fans at all possible angles, opening as many tickets as possible. The other part of this process saw ESL getting more experimental and integrating fans in different ways.
“We announced something new and untested with the addition of the IEM Fan Fest featuring Gaules. We’re very excited to see that the interest for this, in particular, is so strong, just confirms that the bold move was right.”
The IEM Fan Fest is an outdoor event that’s a blend of tailgate, meet and greet, and the biggest Gaules stream ever seen. It was, first and foremost, a response to the literal overflow of excitement from the community – a way to get as many people in the audience as possible.
A number of outlets and observers have noted that, to truly expand the audience, ESL could have chosen an outdoor stadium to host the event. ESL considered that approach too. While an outdoor stadium meant a larger audience, it also meant an event that was less intimate, less epic, and less catered to Counter-Strike.
“The Jeunesse Arena is the biggest indoor arena possible in Rio de Janeiro,” ESL said. “While football stadiums might be bigger in audience capacity, the majority of them are open air, which comes with its own set of challenges. What we are set to deliver with our events is an intimate and epic atmosphere within the venue, and that atmosphere would evaporate in these bigger open-air stadiums.”
“What we are testing this time around will be our IEM Fan Fest, which is going to be a fully outdoor component. We’ll evaluate how this performs and take it into consideration for the future.”
In the end, ESL’s goals, excitements, and motivations are much the same as the community’s: To make the first Brazilian Major into something exciting. To bring out the full passion of the CS community in a way where it’s felt in the venue, in the region, and at home, in the PCs of the people who couldn’t make the trip.
“We’re most excited to finally bring the event to Rio after the pandemic put a stop to its original timing in 2020. We hear, see, and feel the excitement the local Brazilian community has about this event. All tickets for the Challengers, Legends, and Champions Stage of the tournament are gone and just some tickets for the IEM Fan Fest are left. We’re sure it will be 12 days of madness, and we can’t wait to welcome fans into all three stages of IEM Rio.”
12 days of madness. Drink it in, CS fans. The Brazilian major is finally here.
You can follow the action over at Twitch!