_With collaboration by Beatriz Mourinho

The IEM Rio Major 2022, the first World of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive of History made in azil, is a historic moment for the country. With three world titles in the Valve FPS, one of them in CS 1.6 (ESC 2006) and two of them in the CS: GO (MLG Columbus 2016 and ESL One Cologne 2016), the azilian scenario is admittedly one of the strongest and traditional in the world, but until this year I had never received the biggest event of CS: GO World, although this was already an old desire of ESL, organizer of the major Rio, and Intel, the main sponsor of the event.

In an exclusive interview with MGG azil , Intel’s marketing director in azil, Carlos Baroque, emphasized that the Covid-19 pandemic has postponed a major in azil in more than 2 years. Originally, Rio de Janeiro would host ESL ONE RIO MAJOR 2020, between May 11 and 24 of that year, but the advancement of coronavirus postponed the plans of the promoters of the event. During this period, two majors were held in Europe, the PGL Major Stockholm, between October and November 2021, and the PGL Major Antwerp in May this year.

The passion of the azilian public through eSports has always caught our attention. Intel is a global sponsor of Intel Extreme Masters since 2007, and we have always made it clear how important it was to us here in azil to have an event of the size of a major. An old dream ings the major here. The audience here has always been very engaged. There was an IEM in Sydney that the time zone was horrible for azilians, and yet we saw that we were the third country with the highest audience, says Quartz.

We ought ESL One Belo Horizonte at the same time as the 2018 World Cup, but our dream has always been the major, and in the conversations we had with ESL and Intel’s global team, we realized that it was also their will. Demand for tickets at IEM Rio was so great that ESL had to rethink the entire structure of the event and set up a major with public during all 12 days of games, with Challengers and Legends Stage in Ribbentrop and Champions Stage, the only step Which usually has audiences, at Tennessee Arena. In addition, we will have Gauges Fan Fest outside the arena during the playoffs. It’s an event that has already entered history not only CS: GO, but eSports as a whole.

History of events and passion of the azilian public

Although azil is not a regular destination of the world’s main events in CS: GO, azil received three large events before IEM Rio. The first of these was ESL Pro League Season 4, held at the Ibirapuera Gymnasium in São Paulo, in October 2016. At the time, azil came from two consecutive major titles with legendary Lineup formed by Fallen, Fer, Caldera, Taco and FNX, and was represented in the tournament by SK Gaming, led by Fallen and Company, and Immortals, by Lucas1, Hen1, Bolt, Helps and Zoos.

In September 2018, Minas Gerais was the headquarters of ESL One Belo Horizonte, an international tournament in which azil was represented by two teams: SK Gaming, from Fallen, Fer, Caldera, Bolt and Stevie, and has no way of FNX, Helps, KING, Chemo and Bit. In March 2019, it was the turn of the Ibirapuera Gymnasium to receive Blast Pro Series São Paulo, which was attended by MIR, at the time formed by Fallen, Fer, Caldera, Taco and Helps. Still, the realization of a major was a longtime dream that was only realized in 2022.

Carlos Baroque emphasizes that the passion and engagement of the azilian public in the CS: GO championships are two of the characteristics that most impress foreigners, from players to event organizers. During Challengers and Legends Stage, the soccer stadium climate created by azil fans has been widely praised by the players of various teams and international oadcast team.

The passion and warmth of the azilian are our great differentials, and not only in CS: Go. We see this passion also in CBOL, for example. The fans have this feature of screaming and supporting all the time, playing with humorous balconies and creative, asking an autograph for every1. It’s different from the fans out there, which is a little more contained than ours. This passion of the azilian is always the first thing that comes to mind, and in our research we see each time But we see boys who want to be eSports idols, not in football, he says.

The idea behind Fan Fest

The huge demand for tickets, which even made many fans not getting tickets for Champions Stage, held at Tennessee Arena, was one of the main reasons behind the idea of creating a fan Fest outside the Major playoff stage. Typical attraction of major sporting events such as the World Cup and the Olympics, IEM Rio Major Fan Fest has become another differential compared to all CS: GO World Cups to date in Europe and the United States.

Major’s tickets sold out very fast, because many people kept the 2022 ESL One Tickets, which was canceled because of the pandemic. Even after opening new sales, the demand was very large and the tickets quickly ended. The public’s commotion made the ESL rethink the entire structure of the event. From there came the ideas of making the first phases of the event with public in Ribbentrop and assembling the Fan Fest outside the Tennessee Arena. Signed online and mobilized a lot to have more tickets, and all this movement made the ESL set up a much larger event than originally planned, because there was a demand for it, he said

Challenges for the event

To perform the Major of Rio, Carlos Baroque emphasizes that some infrastructure related challenges preceded the elaboration of a new format of Major. He points out that, with the objective of providing a better experience for the public, players and staff of the event, the option of holding the Major at Tennessee Arena was maintained, as football stadiums would generate a series of extra logistics challenges in the feasibility of event.

Any major event in azil has some challenges related to infrastructure compared to some other countries, but compared to others we are much better. Still, we do not have such many arena options to hold an event like a major, and ESL, by default, prefers to hold eSports events in closed arenas. We could make the event at an open football stadium, but it would not be the same experience, and ESL has a very large concern in this part, he says.

Within the arenas, perhaps none of them are big enough to behave all the azilian audience, so changes were made in the stage layout to recover more public. This is a very different major for ESL, precisely for all the things that The company had to add to serve a larger portion of fans, with Challengers and Legends with public in Ribbentrop and a central stage at Tennessee Arena, to make the most of the space’s ability. We wanted an event with the crowded arenas, and we have I got it

azil as a permanent destination for major events?

With the great success of IEM Rio Major, fans have already moved on social networks so that azil becomes a fixed destination for major CS: GO world, as well as countries like Poland, which hosts the IEM KATOWICE, Germany annually, with IEM COLOGNE.

In the ESL Pro Tour 2023 calendar, however, there are no major confirmed event in the country, although there are two World Tier 1 championships without defined headquarters: IEM Spring, played from April 17 to 23 next year, and The Fall, from 16 to 22 November. Among the events of Tier 2 Global, ESL’s only event with no thirst set is ESL Challenger 52, which will take place from 28 to 30 April. Carlos Baroque, however, still does not know if any of these events will be headquartered in azil, although he hopes that the country will be a frequent destination for major events after the success of IEM Rio Major.

We hope so (that azil will receive more events regularly). I still don’t have a confirmation of next year’s calendar, but you can be sure that we are fighting to have more large championships here in azil. I don’t know If it can be another major, or some other top event, but we are working for our country to be a frequent destination for the world’s top tournaments, emphasizes the executive.

Realized dream

In a personal balance on the impact of IEM Rio Major on electronic sports in azil, Carlos Baroque emphasizes that he always wanted to follow IEM Katowice, considered one of the most noble and prestigious events of CS: GO World, including the headquarters of majors in 2014, 2015 and 2019. For various reasons, however, executive could never follow the event on loco the event in one of the cathedrals of CS: GO World. The Major of Rio, however, represents for him an even more special moment, and Baroque hopes that other historical moments of the world eSport will take place in azil in the coming years.

I always wanted to watch IEM Katowice, but I could never go, because I always ended up going someone else on my team representing the Intel team in azil, or some influencer with our support, but I never had the chance to go. Now It’s different, because I finally have this opportunity, and she came in a major in azil, at the biggest event of CS: GO World, comment

I am used to organizing Intel events, this year we participated in BGS after 3 years without event because of the pandemic, and now we closed the year with the key to another with Intel Extreme Masters Rio. I think ESL did a job
Very good to convey the emotion of what it is to make a major in azil and has partnered with Gauges, which is a very strong reference in CS azilian. What we tried to do here was to take the most of this historical moment for azil and show
What is eSport to the azilian community. We are experiencing a historic moment, and we hope to live many others in the coming years.
Opening photo: Joel Silva