Team Vitality crowned BLAST Premier World Final champion

Team Vitality crowned BLAST Premier World Final champion

Team Vitality reigned supreme to be crowned BLAST Premier World Final 2023 champions and a share of the USD $1 million prize pool as the Tier One global esports tournament came to a close at Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena.

In front of thousands of passionate fans, including adults and children of all ages, Team Vitality beat Faze Clan in a thrilling encounter to win the prestigious competition for the first time and end the year as the world’s best Counter-Strike team of 2023.

The tournament was organised by BLAST, a global esports tournament organiser, in partnership with AD Gaming, an Abu Dhabi Government gaming initiative, and attracted the best eight sides in the world in the five-day event.

As well as winning the trophy, Team Vitality also claimed the top prize of USD $500,000 and captain Dan Madesclaire, “apEX“, was delighted to come out on top. It was their second consecutive title following the Spring Fall triumph in Copenhagen.

He said: “It was much closer to what the score suggests. We had some rough points, but the goal was to stay calm together, and we played some good Counter-Strike. We will now keep going for the New Year.

“To be able to win two major trophies in a row is the best feeling you can have. I’m speechless to have won the BLAST Premier World Final. There were a lot of people in the Etihad Arena, and there was a good atmosphere, and it was great to see so many people enjoy the show.”

The final day also saw India’s True Rippers Esports come out on top against Pakistan’s Team WahWah in the Showmatch encounter. Hamad Chowdhury of True Rippers, said: “It was a great experience and it was fun to play with the professional players was a dream come true and it was an enjoyable experience.”

It was the second consecutive year that the BLAST Premier World Final was staged in Abu Dhabi following last year’s success and the 2023 event was an even bigger edition with plenty of off-stage entertainment and activities.

As part of BLAST’s on-going efforts to help accelerate the growth of the esports ecosystem in the region, attract new audiences, and deliver incredible esports experiences in state-of-the-art arenas for both teams and spectators, an expanded BLAST Zone was held. It provided an opportunity for spectators to understand more about the thriving gaming industry that is expected to grow to $ 5 billion by 2025 in the MENA region.

According to research by Statista, almost half of esports gamers in the UAE last year were aged between 25 to 34-year-olds while 91 per cent of UAE residents between 18 and 64 said they play games at least occasionally.

The BLAST Zone showed the benefits of why the esports industry is rapidly growing, hosting tournaments where amateurs could compete for a prize pool of AED 40,000, a VP Park with the latest tech and games, arcade games from old gen consoles to the latest, racing simulators, educational booths, and meet and greet opportunities with esports teams and influencers. A highlight included the About Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) MENA Community competition taking place in the BLAST Zone with the top 16 teams going head-to-head.

Andrew Haworth, Programme Director of BLAST Premier World Final, said: “When we started planning for the BLAST Premier World Final 2023, our intention was to always raise the bar even higher following our success in 2022 and we’re thrilled to have achieved that goal.

“Over the two days, it was fantastic to see thousands of adults and children of different nationalities and ages, as well as students and families coming together to see through their own eyes on how exciting esports as well as the opportunities gaming can offer.

“As a leading global esports tournament organiser, we are determined to inspire new people and increase the popularity of gaming and esports in all corners of the globe and along with the government investing significantly in the industry, this all bodes well for the sector, which will only go from strength to strength.”

This year’s BLAST Premier World Final is the first edition since AD Gaming integrated with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi. AD Gaming has boosted the expansion of the region’s gaming industry, offering career opportunities to aspiring talent and producing world-class content in the emirate.

James Hartt, Gaming and digital development department director of AD Gaming, said: “The BLAST Premier World Final is the pinnacle of the Counter-Strike season and it’s very fitting that it was held in Abu Dhabi again as the event is one that everyone enjoys every year.

“At AD Gaming, we are doing so much work at grass-roots to take esports to the next level. More teams are moving here, while creating opportunities for local and international teams as well as at community level.”


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