The 5 Biggest CS GO Tournaments in 2015 and The Prize Money They Offer

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Luminosity Gaming wins MLG Columbus 2016

The 5 Biggest CS GO Tournaments in 2015

Counter-Strike Global Offensive or CS:GO for short is one of the most popular Steam & Valve games ever released and has remained popular since its release in 2012. 

The e-sports community of the game is alive and well too -as is proven by the well-liked and massively hyped tournaments. While not in the same league as for example, the 18 Million USD DOTA 2 tournaments in 2015, a professional CS:GO team can make good money in a tournament. 

Similarly, fans often like to bet on the tournaments, either with real money or with in-game items and weapon skins. Especially the DreamHack Open in Sweden shook this side of things up a fair bit, as an underdog team from the US made first place.

Below is a list of the five biggest tournaments in the last year-in name, prize money, attendance and views.

1. DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca 2015

The DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca 2015 is considered one of the biggest events in the CS:GO e-sporting scene. 

Hosted in Romania inside the Polyvalent Hall in Cluj-Napoca, the event hosted approximately 10,000 fans with about 25 million viewers watching worldwide through Twitch.tv. The event featured a prize pool of $250,000 which is the joint largest prize pool for a Counter Strike: Global Offensive event with the winning team pocketing $100,000 for themselves.

The tournament was hosted by Richard Lewis and Paul “ReDeYe” Chaloner over a three-day period. It was one of several DreamHack tournaments that take place every year, all over the world, though most often in Sweden. While the one in Romania was by far the biggest in respect to CS:GO, the most recent one was held in January in Leipzig Germany, with another happening in March in Austin.

In the Cluj-Napoca event, CS:GO professional teams and well known names such as Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) and Natus Vincere participated alongside up and coming challenger teams such as Cloud9, Team Dignitas and Counter Logic Gaming who hoped to claim part of that massive prize pool. 

The tournament featured 16 teams in total, starting off with Groups to determine the top 8 teams and a single elimination bracket to follow afterwards. 

The French/American team EnvyUS won the tournament, beating Natus Vincere 2-0 in the finals on the maps Train and Cobblestone. With fans avidly watching that wasn’t really that big of a surprise-they had been doing well throughout the year. 

As with many of the big events, this one also spawned a line of stickers for fans to put on their in-game weapons, as well as a line of fan items that could be purchased at the even itself only.

2. ESL One: Katowice 2015

ESL One: Katowice 2015 was an offline tournament played in Katowice, Poland. 

It is in the top 10 most funded CS:GO tournaments with a prize pool of $250,000, the same amount as the DreamHack tournament. 

The tournament champions could grab $100,000 of the prize money for themselves with second and third taking $50,000 and $22,000 respectively. 

The venue was the Spodek Arena, holding up to 11,000 people inside. The tournament also boasted 37 Million twitch.tv sessions throughout the entirety of the event, or the equivalent of 11 Million Hours of total time streamed on twitch, thereby beating most of the other tournaments in sheer numbers of attendance.

The tournament was hosted by Sean Charles with well-known casters such as Anders Blume and Leigh “Deman” Smith. 

The tournament featured CS:GO teams such as: Fnatic, Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team SoloMid. 

Fnatic won the tournament in a very close "best of three" contest against Ninjas in Pyjamas, only winning the final game 16-13. 

The tournament was also sponsored by Intel and Asus and was a Valve ‘Major’ event. More so than usual, this event featured in-game skins, stickers and collectible items for fans.

3. ESL One Cologne 2015

ESL One Cologne 2015 was a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major that was held in the Laxness Arena in Cologne, Germany. 

In 2015, Germany was quite the hotspot for the CS:GO community with many large and even more small events taking place there. 

The Laxness Arena can hold approximately 20,000 people, and it was quite full.

This was the first tournament in CS:GO history that had compulsory drug testing, helping e-sports in its attempt to be taken more seriously as a sporting event. Before this, drug tests were optional-so teams could take them privately and release the results if they so chose. Since drugs and doping have become a surprisingly big issue in e-sports this was a huge step in the right direction. 

The twitch.tv stream had 27 Million viewers with a peak of 1.3 million concurrent viewers in the finals. The prize pool was $250,000 with the winners taking home $100,000, the runners up winning $50,000 and 3rd team taking home $22,000. 

The Tournament had 32 teams performing in Double Elimination Best of 1 groups, with 8 teams performing in the Single Elimination Best of 3 bracket. O. J. Berg was the Stage host of the tournament with William “Chobra” Cho hosting the Analyst Desk. 

The tournament had teams such as Fnatic, Team SoloMid and Kinguin performing. Fnatic, the Swedish team won the tournament in a comfortable 2-0 victory against EnvyUs, who had won the DreamHack Event. 

This event wasn’t quite as hyped as the ESL in Katowice was, despite having the same prize stakes, and the record set in simultaneous views.

4. ESL ESEA Pro League S2 Finals

The ESL ESEA Pro League S2 Finals was a Counter Strike: Global Offensive major tournament hosted in Burbank, California, in a “Gaming House” in which the tournaments were played. 

The event had the top 4 teams from the EU and the top 4 teams from the US compete in separate groups, with the top two teams advancing from both groups into a 4 team single elimination playoff. 

The tournament only had 100,000 twitch.tv viewers at its maximum and was not sponsored by Valve to be a major event. Despite this it still had a $250,000 prize pool with $100,000 for the winning team, $60,000 for second and $25,000 for third. 

The tournament was hosted by Alex “Machine” Richardson and commentated by names such as Anders Blume, Jason “Moses” O’Toole and Lauren “Pansy” Scott. 

The tournament featured teams such as Fnatic, Team Liquid and ? (QuestionMark). 

The winning team was Fnatic, with Natus Vincere, EnvyUs and ? rounding out the top 4. 

The tournament was sponsored by names such as BenQ, Alienware, Logitech and G2A. Despite these well-known names and the incredibly high stakes, hopes for fan masses didn’t quite happen. 

This is perhaps the least-known and popular event from the fan side of things.

5. DreamHack Open Winter 2015

The DreamHack Open Winter 2015, also known as FACEIT 2015 Stage 3 Finals was a CS:GO event with a $250,000 prize pool sponsored by names such as Razer, Monster Energy, Intel and HyperX. 

The Tournament was hosted at Dreamhack in Jonkoping, Sweden hosting up-to 30,000 seats. The tournament was hosted by Richard Lewis with commentators such as Anders Blume and Auguste “Semmler” Massonnat and Analysts such as Duncan “Thorin” Shields and Mathieu “Maniac” Quiquerez. The tournament featured 8 teams, 5 from the EU, 2 from North America and one from Oceania. This was a slight change from the usually more local teams in tournaments.

The 8 teams were split into 2 groups of 4, playing in a best of one group stage to qualify. The top two teams from each group qualified into the best of 3 single elimination playoffs. Fnatic won the tournament on their home ground in a comfortable 2-1 win over the North American underdogs, Luminosity Gaming. Their progress that far in the tournament shook up the usual betting a fair bit as nobody quite expected it.

Honorable mention: Game Show Global e-Sports Cup Season 1

This event was held in Vilnius in Lithuania and had quite a sizeable price pool with $200,000. 

It took place this February and was won by the team EnvyUS who were able to take home $80,000 of that prize pool. The runner-up team, Team Dignitas was able to snatch $50,000. Those teams aren’t the only well-known ones that participated though. Cloud9 and Counter Logic Gaming came in 4th and 5th.

The teams competing in the finals were determined in two groups, putting up 8 teams for the offline elimination finals. There were two separate broadcasts hosted for this-a Russian one and an English one as well. 

They both had somewhat well-known presenters, however no really big names. This tournament was certainly big, though not exceptional enough to gain a spot in the top 5.

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