If the fans keep up, IEM Rio Major will be the most memorable Counter-Strike event of all time.
The Legends Stage of IEM Rio Major, the first Valve-sponsored CS:GO event held in Brazil, kicked off today and the crowd kept putting on their own show just like they did from day one of the $1.25 million competition.
In addition to cheering for FURIA, the only Brazilian squad left in the event, the fans have also supported international teams like NAVI, FaZe Clan, and Team Liquid. The latter has been home in the past to some Brazilian CS:GO players such as Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, Epitácio “TACO” de Melo, and Lucas “steel” Lopes, which helped the organization to build a great fan base in the South American country.
During this first day of Legends Stage, you could see how happy Liquid star Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski was to be playing in Brazil, but not everyone could tell that Liquid’s other star Keith “NAF” Markovic was in love with the crowd in Rio de Janeiro as well. NAF is one of the quietest players in the scene and rarely seems affected by the crowd, but even someone quiet like him fell in love with the atmosphere created by fans.
“I love being in Brazil,” NAF said. “People may think that I’m just saying it, but nah. Brazil is just such a unique atmosphere, the fans here are nothing like any other fans. It helps a lot that we played with steel and TACO, we had zews as our coach, we had FalleN. So it helps, since they were on our team the Brazilians show us more love. I love that shit.”
The Canadian said the fans have been nothing but amazing and he spent “like an hour” signing autographs for them. Liquid had the support of the crowd twice today, first against MOUZ in the opening round (MOUZ 16-2) and later against Sprout (Liquid 16-5).
“It’s always just a joy to be here and I hope there’s always a slot in the calendar year for an event in Brazil because they deserve it,” NAF said. “I want to come back here whenever I can, I love it here!”
With how well IEM Rio Major is going, it’s only natural that the Brazilian fanbase pushes for more events in the country. Imperial’s player Vinicius “VINI” Figueiredo has already asked ESL to consider making annual tournaments in Brazil and his opinion was vouched by famous esports talent Eefje Sjokz Depoortere.