Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will once again return to Poland, after Valve confirmed that the first of next year’s major tournaments will be held by ESL in the country. The world's best teams - 24 to be precise - will flock to IEM Katowice to win a lion’s share of $1,000,000 prize pool in front of thousands of people.
This will be the sixth major ESL has run, the first since Cologne 2016 and ESL Katowice 2015, so the announcement has come as no real surprise. It's bound to be great tournament but if the $1,000,000 prize pool isn’t enough to fight over, teams will also be competing for the all-important win to add to the Intel Grand Slam tally.
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But first, the teams have to earn their place. During the Challengers Stage, from February 14-20, 16 teams will face off at the ESL Arena. The top eight from this stage will then face the top eight teams from the FACEIT Major in London during the Legends Stage from February 21-24. This is then followed by the main event, the Champions Stage, from February 28-March 3 at the legendary Spodek Arena.
Both the Champions Stage and the Legends Stage will be played in front of a live audience though, adding a new touch to the major tournament.
“IEM Katowice has grown to become one of the most iconic esports tournaments in the world,” Michal Blicharz, vice president of Pro Gaming at ESL, says in a press release. “I expect that coupling the heritage of IEM with the gravity of a Valve Major Championship will elevate the tournament to what will be the most incredible IEM event in history.”
John Bonini, vice president and general manager of the VR, Gaming and Esports Group at Intel Corporation adds, “Intel Extreme Masters Katowice brings together the top gamers, fans and technology like no other esports competition can and continues to surpass expectations year after year.
“With the 2019 tournament featuring a Valve Major Championship for CS:GO, we look forward to delivering even more, from the elite competition to the best gaming technology for fans in the arena and those tuning in around the world.”