Week 3 of “ELeague” kicks off Tuesday with four more teams looking to advance in Turner Sports' “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” tournament. Group play takes place Tuesday through Thursday on Twitch, with the top two teams advancing to compete live on TBS Friday. After a rocky start to live eSports on television, viewers increased for the second week of “ELeague,” according to preliminary ratings.
After losing 2-0 to G2 Esports in group play, Ninjas in Pyjamas were the underdogs going into Friday's matchup between the teams. G2 Esports went undefeated during group play, while Ninjas in Pyjamas lost to G2 and dropped a round in the weekly semifinal against Optic Gaming. Ninjas in Pyjamas' recent history against G2 was not in the Swedish team's favor. None of that mattered Friday as NiP made quick work of G2. After winning the first match 16-9 in the best-of-30 format, Ninjas in Pyjamas crushed G2 16-3 to win the best-of-three matchup.
Ninjas in Pyjamas joins Luminosity in the playoffs. G2 Gaming and Cloud 9 can still reach the playoffs if they make it past the “Last Chance Qualifier” round. The six runner-ups will be joined by two third-place teams with the most points.
For week 3, Astralis, SK Gaming, NRG Esports and CounterLogic Gaming compete to advance from Group C. Danish Astralis is the likely favorite to advance from the group, but there was some cause for concern as in-game leader Finn “Karrigan” Andersen was denied entry into the U.S. Monday. On Twitter, Andersen said he will pick up his visa with a flight scheduled for tomorrow.
NRG Esports may have the star power, but it's mostly behind the scenes. The North American team was founded by Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov, co-owners of the Sacramento Kings. NRG's investors include Shaquille O'Neal, Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins. NRG is a relative newcomer to “CS:GO,” but it had a strong showing in the North America division of ESL's Pro League finishing in fifth place.
SK Gaming had a relatively poor showing in the Europe division of ESL's Pro League, but are considered among the 20 best teams in the world, according to HLTV. Their recent form is something to be worried about as SK have dropped their last five matches.
Counter Logic Gaming is better known for its “League of Legends” team, but its “CS:GO” is gaining some traction after placing near the bottom of ESL's Pro League. Considering their competition, CLG may have to pull off a few upsets to advance beyond group play.
The debut of “ELeague” attracted an average of 255,000 viewers, which was not an encouraging sign that eSports fans were making the transition to television. Preliminary data indicates viewers were up in its second week, but official numbers have yet to be released.