ESL x DH: Unveiling our direction and event calendar for 2021

We’ve made the decision for 2021 to host the majority of ESL and DreamHack tournaments as in-person competitions from within a controlled studio environment. This means that our approach is to generally step away from events with live audiences until later this year.

In 2021 we want to be more pragmatic and clearer with our decision making. Our expected return to regular live events with audiences is slated for November, however the general guidance may change depending on how local and global guidelines change throughout the year. Due to the ever changing landscape, we will continue to evaluate each individual tournament in order to ensure we are consistently making the right decisions for our players, crew and staff and especially for when we welcome back fans to our events.

ESL Pro Tour CS:GO

2021 Tournament Calendar

Immediate changes see Intel® Extreme Masters: Katowice & ESL Pro League Season 13 become online competitions with EPL having plans to return to a LAN studio playoffs live from Malta.

ESL One Cologne powered by Intel remains as planned for a live event with an audience. As it is our EPT Championship and flagship competition, we do not want to close the doors to the LANXESS arena yet. We will reevaluate and update the situation in Q2.

The ESL Pro Tour will for the majority continue as originally scheduled with over $5,000,000 in prize money with minor adjustments made to the EPT Masters calendar.

  • IEM Katowice 2021 / 16 - 28 Feb / $1,000,000 / 24 Teams / Online
  • EPL: Season 13 Malta / 08 Mar - 11 Apr / $750,000 / 24 Teams / Online with Studio Playoffs
  • DreamHack Masters Spring 2021 / 29 Apr - May 9 / $250,000 / 16 Teams / Studio
  • IEM Summer 2021 / 03 - 13 June / $250,000 / 16 Teams / Studio (prev. IEM Melbourne)
  • ESL One Cologne 2021 / 06 - 18 Jul / $1,000,000 / 24 Teams / Live Event LANXESS
  • EPL: Season 14 Malta/ 08 Sep - 10 Oct / $750,000 / 24 Teams / Studio
  • IEM Fall 2021 / 14 - 24 Oct* / $250,000 / 16 Teams / Studio
  • IEM Winter 2021 / 02 - 12 Dec / $250,000 / 16 Teams / Live Event Asia

*We acknowledge that IEM Fall overlaps with the recent announcement of the PGL Major. We are working on solutions to adjust and will update in due course.

Until we return to LAN, all of our tournaments will operate as online global competitions. As we look to return to in-person competition, all ESL tournaments will follow a “Return to LAN” protocol developed in close collaboration with teams and players to ensure a safe return for players, coaches and staff to minimize everyone's exposure to COVID-19 related risks.

The agreed  “Return to LAN” protocols include rules on (amongst others):
- Testing and other measures before arrival at the event
- Travel and arrival at accommodation
- Creation of a controlled environment among participants, staff and others
- Ongoing COVID-19 testing procedures during stay
- Prepared actions in case of positive tests
- Prepared measures in order to ensure that players can return home safely

The protocols will be updated on an ongoing basis in order to ensure that they reflect the rules and regulations of society in general as well as the specific rules incorporated in the country in which a LAN event is scheduled to take place.

We will be announcing the next layer of our ESL Pro Tour structure in the coming weeks, which will feature all information around DH Open competitions & more.

How are ticket holders affected?

Intel® Extreme Masters: Katowice 2021:
As announced on December 14th, the event will not take place with an audience. Tickets are available to be refunded or deferred, please visit HERE.

Intel® Extreme Masters: Melbourne 2021:
The tournament will be held as an online competition. For those who hold tickets to IEM Melbourne, you will receive an email from Ticketek with full details on your refund. The tournament will be rescheduled from August 17-22, 2021 to June 3-13, 2021 and will be renamed to Intel® Extreme Masters: Summer 2021.

ESL One Rio powered by Intel 2020:
We remain committed to return with the CS:GO Major to Brazil. All purchased tickets remain valid, however if you prefer to get a refund please request it directly in your Eventbrite account using the email address you purchased your ticket with. We are in continued discussions with Valve and will look to provide further updates this year.




2021 Tournament Calendar
This week marked the start of the DPC Leagues. ESL and DreamHack are operating respectively the CIS and European divisions and we’re excited for a jampacked year of Dota 2 action. With this in mind alongside the officially sanctioned DPC leagues, ESL is planning to host two live ESL events this year, one taking place during the Summer, and one taking place during the Winter.

  • ESL One Summer - $400,000; dates TBA
  • ESL One Winter - $400,000; dates TBA

Based upon the evolving global health situation, we expect to host the first ESL One as a global studio LAN, and will evaluate if the ESL One Winter event will be able to welcome an audience.

Ticketed events
ESL One Birmingham 2021:
ESL One Birmingham will not take place as a live event with an audience in 2021, but instead as a studio event, with players competing on LAN closed to the public.  Any visitors still with tickets outstanding can expect a refund to be issued to them within the next 14 days. Stay tuned for more details which we aim to release in the coming weeks.  The tournament will be referred to as ESL One Summer 2021.





Tournament Calendar
Immediate changes in the 2020/2021 season see both EPT Championship competitions take place online, for more specific details on how that looks like, please see directly below.

In regards to the 2021/2022 season and as announced on December 15th (click here), the ESL Pro Tour calendar will continue for both titles as originally outlined.

EPT StarCraft II:

  • DH SC2 Masters: Summer / May 19 - Jul 4 / $170,000
  • DH SC2 Masters: Fall / Jul 28 - Sep 12 / $170,000
  • DH SC2 Masters: Winter / Sep 29 - Oct 17 / $170,000
  • DH SC2 Masters: Last Chance  / Jan 13 - Jan 16 / $40,000
  • IEM Katowice 2022 / Feb, Mar / $500,000

EPT Warcraft III:

  • WC3 Open: Summer / 17 Apr - May 30 / $25,000
  • WC3 Open: Fall / 10 Jul - Aug 22 / $25,000
  • WC3 Open: Winter / 18 Sep - Oct 31 / $25,000
  • DH WC3 Championship 2021 / December / $130,000

An overview of our 2021 calendar for both ESL events and DreamHack festivals can be viewed below. DreamHack Summer & Dallas will not be taking place in 2021, instead we will be offering an online experience to be announced later this year.


We’d like to thank you all for your continued understanding of how we’ve had to adapt during both 2020 and moving into 2021. We’ll continue dealing with these challenges as amicably as possible to deliver the best viewing experiences of online events across our game titles.

You can catch all ESL and DreamHack action in 2021 live over on our Twitch Channels:




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