Just like football and rugby, professional video gaming events in the UK attract millions of views from around the world

Joe Hall
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Gfinity have hosted 23 weekly tournaments broadcast to 25 countries (Source: Gfinity)

A UK-based sporting competition featuring some of the best professionals from across the globe competing for huge sums of money has recorded almost 60m views.

This isn't the Rugby World Cup - but the Gfinity Championship Series, a series of 23 weekly eSports (professional, competitive video gaming) tournaments, hosted by Aim-listed company Gfinity.

The UK-based company exceeded its own viewing target of 50m for its inaugural Championship series, recording a total of 58.5m online views for the tournaments in popular games such as Call of Duty, Fifa '15 and Counter-Strike:Global Offensive.

Read more: Gfinity just launched the first eSports arena but can professional video gaming take off in the UK?

Last month's final competition, the Gfinity Champion of Champions event, drew 8.75m online views from around the world.

In contrast, the average UK TV audience for the England rugby team's World Cup campaign was just 8.1m people.

Esports is well established in markets such as South Korea, where the best gamers could be considered celebrities, but is increasingly making inroads into the UK mainstream. Later this week the BBC will broadcast eSports for the first time, when the League of Legends World Championships takes place at Wembley Arena on Thursday.

Gfinity's weekly events, broadcast from its own arena in Fulham, came in 10 languages in over 25 countries with viewers collectively watching in excess of 15.8m hours of live content.

The company has paid out over £320,000 in prize money to the pro gamers from some of the world's biggest teams such as Fnatic and Ninjas in Pyjamas.

Chief executive Neville Upton said the viewing figures demonstrated the firm's standing within the eSports industry. He said:

Gfinity has quickly become regarded as one of the leading providers of eSports content. We are very pleased to have exceeded our target 50m views for the series, demonstrating our ability to attract the best players and talent and stage top quality eSports events.

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