Counter-Strike's first Brazilian major sells out instantly, pros and fans demand venue change

Christ the Redeemer looks over Rio.
(Image credit: Romano Cagnoni via Getty Images)
Audio player loading…

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and ESL announced earlier this week that the game will have its first-ever Brazilian major tournament (opens in new tab) later this year. All good! Tickets went on-sale yesterday for the event, which is due to take place in Rio de Janeiro's Jeunesse Arena (capacity: 15,430), and sold out within an hour (opens in new tab). Not so good.

There's a huge Brazilian fanbase for Counter-Strike and, following a planned 2020 major's covid-related cancellation, anticipation for this one is as white-hot as it gets. Unsurprisingly, the focus has now shifted towards the choice of venue: after all, it's not like Brazil is short on stadia.

And it's not just the fans either. Most strikingly S1mple, one of the greatest to ever play the game and currently a Navi player, has said he won't go unless it's moved to a stadium.

See more

That may well be overstating it, but the sentiment is shared by several other high-profile Counter-Strike players. Perhaps most notable is the Brazilian great FalleN, for whom this may well be one of his final tournaments, who simply said (opens in new tab) "We need a bigger place @ESL 😁Football stadium let’s go."

It's worth saying that this is not as, ahem, simple as it seems. It's all well and good for Counter-Strike players like kscerato to say (opens in new tab) "Move the major to MARACANÃ STADIUM", but a giant open-air stadium is possibly not the best fit for a Counter-Strike tournament. Possibly.

But what do I know, because now the football clubs have decided to get in on the act. Club Athletico Paranaense, from the city of Curitiba and a top side, have been basically flashing their knickers at the ESL and CS: GO accounts: after all, it has a stadium with a capacity of just over 42,000.

See more

As for Counter-Strike fans, the mood is a mix of anger and disappointment, with many complaining about their failed attempts to get tickets through the official channels. The mood can be summarised as: look, this was obviously going to happen. Counter-Strike's history in Brazil means a big local audience, the idea of a major in Brazil will be attractive to many overseas fans, and there's a bunch of ticket-holders from the 2020 event that make up part of the audience already.

As redditor Mrdicat puts it (opens in new tab) in one of the many threads on the topic: "There's too many arenas and stadiums in Brazil for such a dumb mistake, this should and will be the biggest Major to date."

I've reached out to the ESL to ask whether there's any prospect of a venue shift, though that seems unlikely. Either way this one is gonna be massive. Before the Rio major, however, there will be two other CS: GO majors: IEM Dallas on 3rd-6th June, and IEM Cologne over 15-17th July.

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."