MLG 2011 viewership surpasses 3.5 million

Pro gaming organization says average reach among 18-to-24-year-old males greater than Comedy Central, MTV, TBS, FX.

The Major League Gaming organization handed out more than $1 million to competitors during its just-concluded 2011 season. And while that's certainly a significant chunk of change, the professional gaming circuit appears to have a viewership large enough to justify handing out that much in winnings.

Halo: Reach offered the biggest prize package this season.

Today, the MLG announced that more than 3.5 million people tuned in online or turned out in person to view the 2011 Pro Circuit season over its eight-month, six-event run. Those viewership figures are a record for the e-sports industry, the organization said. What's more, the MLG's reach among the 18-24 male demographic is larger than that of a number of cable TV networks.

"Our live streams of the Pro Circuit National Championships garnered more 18-24 male viewers than Comedy Central, MTV, TBS, and FX draw in an average quarter hour and nearly as many as Adult Swim," MLG CEO Sundance DiGiovanni said.

The 2011 Pro Circuit National Championships, held in Providence, Rhode Island, garnered 241,000 peak concurrent online viewers. The tournament was viewed by people in 175 countries, with the biggest audiences coming from the US, Germany, Canada, Sweden, and the UK. The 2011 season saw 15 million hours of video streamed online.

The MLG also saw significant in-person turnout at its six events. Some 97,000 people showed up at this year's tournaments, with more than 16,000 people on hand at the finals in November. The Anaheim event had the highest draw during the season with 20,000 in-person attendees over the three-day stretch.

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