Players and teams from around the world competed in a variety of games at the prestigious Spodek Arena in Katowice, Poland for a total prize pool of $2.5 million. Over 174,000 fans came to enjoy Dota 2, CS:GO, StarCraft 2, Fortnite and other games, as well as the world’s largest esports-themed trade show, the IEM Expo.
A fantastic start to esports in 2019
The IEM tournaments for CS:GO and SC2 broke ESL records, with both receiving more views than any other previous iteration. The Intel® Extreme Masters Katowice CS:GO Major clocked up more than 126 million hours of viewed content from nearly 195 million viewers, whilst the Intel® Extreme Masters SC2 Championship was watched by a whopping 5 million viewers over the duration.
“Our tournaments in Katowice shattered all expectations with record breaking attendance and viewership,” said Ralf Reichert, CEO at ESL. “We’re humbled and proud to be able to come back to this audience every year and share a wonderful experience with everyone in the Spodek Arena as well as the whole esports world watching. Esports has a very exciting year ahead, which I’m very proud to say got kicked off at ESL One and Intel Extreme Masters Katowice.”
The IEM Expo also had stellar success, with the 26,000 square foot exhibition space filled with exciting booths and highlighting three esports stages, as well as the Intel Experience Area, a must see-experience for esports fans. The second instalment of the Global Esports Forum was held, featuring keynotes, panels and research presentations, all regarding the theme of ‘Unleashing the Next Billion Esports Fans’
Of course, the main attractions were the esports themselves, and fans had plenty to get involved with, be it watching the games or joining in at one of the many sponsored booths around each venue.
Over the course of three weeks over $2.5 million worth of prize money was handed out to teams and players from around the world competing in a multitude of tournaments for a variety of games:
- In Dota 2, Team Secret quickly established themselves as the dominant force, eventually beating the CIS team Gambit Esports in a 3-0 in the Grand Finals. Team Secret walked away with not only the title of ESL One Katowice 2019 champions, but also a brand new Mercedes for the winner of the MVP vote, Zai.
- Astralis, arguably the strongest CS:GO team in the world, faced off against popular underdog ENCE in the IEM Katowice 2019 Major Championship. Despite ENCE’s superb run and results against the likes of Team Liquid and Na’vi, they were unable to take a map off of Astralis, eventually losing 0-2 to the Danish juggernauts.
- The IEM Season XIII StarCraft II Championship at Katowice had a fairytale ending, with YunSu ‘soO’ Eo rising from a poor position in the Group Stage to beating current World Champion Serral in the quarterfinals, and then climbing back from an 0-2 situation against Dae-yeob ‘Stats’ Kim to become the Champion. After many years of coming 2nd place at multiple SC2 tournaments, soO finally broke his ‘curse’ and took home the prestigious IEM Katowice Trophy and $150,000.
- Having lost to Lazarus twice in previous tournaments, Team Noble were itching to prove themselves as the best team in Guns of Boom. They did so convincingly, sweeping Lazarus 4-0 in the first Gods of Boom Kick-off at Katowice.
- The Intel Challenge Katowice 2019 was a collaboration between Intel, ESL, and AnyKey to advance diversity efforts in esports, in this case for CS.GO. Dignitas Female came second in their group but managed to defeat Counter Logic Gaming 2-0 to win the Championship
- In the ESL Battle Royal Featuring Fortnite, American player Vinny ‘Vinny1x’ Gilgan from TSM was crowned the best in the solo format, while Canadian Williams ‘Zayt’ Aubin and his partner Rocco ‘Saf’ Morales from the USA won the duo tournament.
- VR League Season 3 kicked off at IEM Katowice with a world premiere of Ready At Dawn’s Echo Combat. Last season’s most dominant Echo Arena teams and finalists duked it out to establish who might also dominate in this new game. Aditionally, audiences witnessed a rematch of the Season 2 Onward Grand Finals between Beginners and Globochem, two teams that are sure to give each other a run for their money again throughout Season 3.
Want to find out more about Intel Extreme Masters? You can visit the official tournament website, browse the event photographs and check out the video footage on the IEM YouTube channel. Make sure to follow IEM on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest updates!
The next stop for IEM will be Sydney, celebrating the 14th season kick-off with the 75th instalment of the longest-running global pro gaming circuit in the world.