ESL, the world’s largest esports company, is set to once again gather the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams from around the world, this time for ESL One Katowice 2015. The event, sponsored by top gaming industry leaders Intel and BenQ, marks the return of ESL One to Spodek Arena, where last year ESL hosted the first ever Counter-Strike: Global Offensive stadium event. The announcement comes off the back of ESL’s two US$250,000 community-funded Counter-Strike tournaments in 2014, which saw viewership records shattered on both occasions.
As part of the Intel ESL Expo, ESL One Katowice 2015 is to be significantly larger than in the previous year. Having expanded into the hall next door, esports competition will be spread across the 8,000m2 exhibition center for the first three days, alongside Intel Extreme Masters competition. The Counter-Strike finals are set to take place on the main stage in Spodek Arena in front of a total of over 10,000 spectators.
“When we took ESL One to Katowice last year, we saw some absolutely fantastic games and experienced a great atmosphere. – Particularly when Virtus.pro, a Polish team, were crowned champions in front of their home crowd,” said Ulrich Schulze, Managing Director of Pro Gaming at ESL. “Since then CS:GO has made incredible progress and we are honoured to once again have been given the opportunity to host a CS:GO Major with a US$250,000 prize purse. The chance to host it in an arena as memorable as Spodek is an added bonus.”
A total of sixteen teams will battle for US$250,000 in winnings come March 12-15: eight of the sixteen finalists have earned their spot as ‘legends’ based on past performance with a further eight ‘challengers’ yet to battle through a combination of online and offline qualifiers. Unlike previous ESL One events, the final stage of these ‘challenger’ qualifiers will take place offline in Katowice on February 14th and 15th.