The fabulous Fox Theatre in the heart of Atlanta is known for its regal ambiance and the countless masters of the performing arts that take to the stage to wow audiences from across the globe. Whether its ballet or Broadway, there is a certain high-class air about the Fox that makes it clear that only the most elite of performers are welcome inside its grand halls. Over the weekend, competitive gaming teams like Astralis and Virtus.Pro joined that list of elite guests and they couldn’t have put on a more stunning performance than what fans witnessed during the ELEAGUE CS:GO Majors.
The dress code for this show was nothing like what you may usually see when driving by the Fox Theatre or sitting down inside to witness the performance of a lifetime. Today, the guests opted for t-shirts over tuxedos and sneakers over loafers and high heels. The usual sound of slow claps and gentle oohs and ahhs had been completely obliterated to make room for intense shouting matches between fans, the sound of bullets blazing and the thunderous roar of an entire audience that witnessed what will surely be a comeback story for the history books. The Fox Theatre had been transformed into the very personification of the magic of eSports. It also served as the battleground where Twitch history was made.
First, let’s back things up a little. For those are unfamiliar with ELEAGUE, it’s nothing short of a crown jewel cleverly disguised as just another studio inside Atlanta’s very own TBS. What you will quickly discover, however, is that ELEAGUE is a truly groundbreaking and innovative league dedicated to competitive gaming. While other games, like the incredibly popular Blizzard title Overwatch, have had their share of play time on the ELEAGUE stage, the league has been largely dedicated to the unique appeal of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). CS:GO is a multiplayer first-person shooter that stands out among its competitors with its heavy focus on team strategy and the all powerful advantages and disadvantages that are introduced via the game’s own ever-changing economy. Every move, every bullet, every kill and every purchase made in this game can determine a team’s fate.
For the ELEAGUE CS:GO Majors, eSports team Astralis found themselves going head-to-head with a clear fan favorite—Virtus.Pro. To be clear, there was certainly no shortage of Astralis fans packed in the Fox Theatre. The former underdogs of the competition clearly had garnered a serious fan base leading up to this final match and there was a sea as Astralis shirts, posters and flags to back that up. When it came to down and dirty shouting matches, however, Virtus.Pro fans clearly excelled at bringing the noise.
But there was something even more prolific happening in that theatre as both teams competed for their share of a whopping $1 million prize pool. From the matchup itself to the very stage these players were occupying, every aspect of this performance turned out to be the perfect storm that would whisk the competitive CS:GO scene into the public eye in a way it has never been before. In addition to airing the intense final bout on TBS, the tournament was also streamed live on Twitch where it shattered the previous record for the most concurrent viewers.
The previous record was set at 890,000 but the ELEAGUE CS:GO Majors made even that number look feeble compared to the total 1.26 million concurrent viewers that tuned in to the ELEAGUE CS:GO Majors on Twitch.
1.26m concurrent viewers for the #ELEAGUEMajor on Twitch – CS:GO re-solidified as king of esports in the West
— Ben Goldhaber (HIRING) 🔶 (@FishStix) January 29, 2017
That’s not all the history that unfolded inside the Egyptian Ballroom either. For much of the CS:GO Major it seemed like the odds were constantly titling in Virtus.Pro’s favor. The Polish team is used to crowd this massive. They ae used to this kind of pressure. They have seen the intense stage of a major tournament before. The same couldn’t have been said for the Danish team Astralis at the time. None of that seemed to matter, however, as Astralis ultimately gave the crowd a mind-blowing comeback story to tell all their friends. Just when Virtus.Pro was a mere four matches away from becoming champions of the ELEAGUE CS:GO Majors, Astralis found their groove and steamrolled over Virtus.Pro to close the previous 12-7 gap and ultimately take home the grand prize.
— Astralis Counter-Strike (@AstralisCS) January 30, 2017
You can see a full breakdown of the entire grand final here.
So for those who may find themselves attending the Fox Theatre in the future in order to celebrate the history of the iconic building and praise the talented masters of the performing arts who so often bring the Fox Theatre to life, remember that even this regal venue has now played witness to the awe-inspiring performance given by the world’s best competitive gamers.
And don’t forget that on January 29, 2017, even more history was made in the belly of a truly historic Georgia icon—and you have a rapidly expanding community of gamers to credit for that.