Intel and esports organiser ESL have revealed that the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) World Championship will be returning to Katowice in Poland between February 14 and March 3 next year, featuring a $1 million USD prize pool and actually being awarded Major Championship status by Valve.
The Challengers Stage will take place between February 14 and 20 and see the top 16 teams fight it out at the ESL Studios, and from February 21 to 24 the Legends Stage will be hosted at the International Congress Center, seeing the top eight teams from Challengers and the top eight from the previous Major battle for a spot in the playoffs in front of a live audience. Then, from February 28 to March 3, the Champions Stage will see a four-day playoff take place inside the usual venue of the Spodek Arena, crowning the world champion at the end of it all.
"IEM Katowice has grown to become one of the most iconic esports tournaments in the world," said Michal Blicharz, Vice President of Pro Gaming at ESL. "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."
"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," added John Bonini, Vice President and General Manager of the VR, Gaming and Esports Group at Intel Corporation. "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."
Are you pleased to see IEM Katowice being a Masters tournament?