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ESL and Intel welcomed 169,000 fans across two weekends of world class esports in Katowice, Poland

3.4 billion minutes of content consumed throughout ESL One Katowice 2018 and Intel® Extreme Masters Katowice 2018

Over $2 million dollars of prize money distributed through competitions

ESL, the world’s largest esports company, and Intel Corporation, one of the leading brands in esports, celebrate the conclusion of two of the largest events on the 2018 esports calendar. Once again, Katowice, Poland’s Spodek Arena hosted ESL One Katowice powered by Intel® and Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) World Championship Katowice. ESL One Katowice took place February 24-25, 2018, bringing the first-ever Dota 2 Major to the country. The following weekend, running March 3-4, 2018, IEM, the longest-running global pro gaming circuit in the world, celebrated the finale of its 12th season. Over the course of the two weekends, 169,000 fans filled Spodek for a front row seat to two of the most prestigious competitions in all of esports.

Over $2 million dollars in prize money was distributed to the world’s best teams and players competing in Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), StarCraft® II and other games -- ESL’s largest cumulative prize pool to date. Similar to last year, the adjacent International Congress Center was home to the world’s largest esports-themed trade show, IEM Expo. The 26,000 square foot exhibition space highlighted four esports stages as well as the Intel Experience Area, a must-see experience for esports fans. Additionally, Intel and ESL partnered to host the inaugural Global Esports Forum -- an exclusive esports conference for brands, sponsors, analysts, investors, and media. The forum took place on March 1, 2018, one day before the IEM playoffs kicked off, and featured keynotes, panels, research, and networking opportunities addressing the theme of Unleashing the Next Billion Esports Fans.

With qualifiers held in six regions, 16 of the world’s highest ranked Dota 2 teams fought for the ESL One Katowice 2018 title, a share of a US $1 million prize pool, and 1,500 points toward the Dota 2 Pro Circuit 2017-2018. Streamed on 17 linear and digital channels in 10 different languages, over 2 billion minutes of competition were watched, showing a 232% increase from last year’s event.

"With another successful double-weekend Katowice event in the books, we continue to expand our commitment to showcasing legendary gameplay and providing our audience with an amazing esports experience,” said Michal Blicharz, Vice President of Pro Gaming at ESL. “We couldn’t have asked for a more exciting finale this year, and we are proud to have helped create these memories for both the audience at Spodek Arena, as well as the entire esports world that tuned-in to watch the action."

The Intel® Extreme Masters World Championship Katowice crowned the World Champions across both Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and StarCraft® II during the second weekend at Katowice’s Spodek Arena. The best 16 teams in CS:GO competed on the main stage for the $500,000 prize pool, whilst top contenders in StarCraft® II dueled for a piece of a $400,000 prize pool. Globally, weekend two was broadcasted on 38 different linear and digital platforms worldwide. Streaming partners produced and distributed content in 12 languages with viewers consuming more than 1 billion minutes of esports.

Along with the 169,000 fans attending the stadium event and surrounding festival, rigorous gameplay earned 2.2 million peak online viewers for weekend one, and 1.7 million peak online viewers for weekend two -- resulting in 80% and 26% growth respectively from last year’s weekends. Through live streams, highlight clips, and custom features on Twitter and Facebook, both events combined had 187 million impressions and 9.3 million engagements.

The passion behind the esports community, along with Intel’s leading gaming technology consistently make for unforgettable events,” said John Bonini, Vice President/GM of the VR, Gaming and Esports Group at Intel. “In its 12th season, Intel Extreme Masters continues to deliver some of the most compelling esports competitions imaginable, and we are thrilled to power every esports milestone.”

The fourth edition of IEM Expo welcomed the industry’s top brands, technology companies, and influencers. The space exhibited three separate esports stages, which hosted individual esports competitions, such as the Intel Challenge Katowice 2018 where the top women’s CS:GO teams went head-to-head. The event also highlighted the Intel Experience Area, where attendees got hands on with the best gaming and esports technology, including Intel® Core™ i7/i9 processors, the top PC games optimized for Intel technology, and a massive VR showcase.

As a result of the two weekends of gripping gameplay, a gritty few battled and were crowned with the championship titles in their respective competitions. Winners included:

Dota 2: Virtus.pro topped Vici Gaming to become the ESL One Katowice 2018 powered by Intel, Poland’s first-ever Dota 2 Major. This marked Virtus.pro’s second ESL One trophy in a row.

  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: Fnatic came from behind to defeat FaZe Clan to win the 2018 CS:GO Intel Extreme Masters World Championship in a seven hour match and overtime victory. This was Fnatic’s first secured title since IEM Katowice 2016.
  • StarCraft® II: Rogue took home the IEM trophy with a clean 4-0 sweep over Classic.
  • The PUBG Invitational at IEM Katowice: Avangar claimed the championship title in PUBG’s inaugural debut in front of a global IEM audience.
  • Intel Challenge Katowice 2018: A collaboration between Intel, ESL, and AnyKey to advance diversity efforts in esports. Team Dignitas made their second appearance in an Intel Challenge Katowice Grand Final, this time prevailing by defeating Sq.Prospect.
  • VR Challenger League: After a season of online play and arena competitions in Echo Arena and The Unspoken VR games, the Grand Finals delivered a stunning conclusion for the inaugural VRCL circuit. Both winners will go down in history as Team ec.LiP.se took the crown in Echo Arena, and Charizard takes home the trophy for The Unspoken.
  • HGC Western Clash: For the third time in three years Team Dignitas reigned supreme in the Heroes of the Storm tournament at Katowice. In a nail-biter of a final they managed to edge out dark horse "Zealots" with a 4:3 score.
  • CROSSFIRE IEM Expo Invitational 2018: The tournament had four teams competing for a prize pool of $30,000. Eventually, it was the Chinese team, Super Valiant Gaming, that took the win.
  • Puchar Polski Cybersport: The third season of Puchar Polski Cybersport had its finals at the IEM Expo.The best Polish CS:GO and League of Legends teams fought for a prize pool of about $15,000. Illuminar Gaming claimed the League of Legends trophy, and Team Kinguin won the CS:GO competition.


For more information about Intel Extreme Masters, visit the official tournament website and browse the event photographs. To stay up to date on Intel Extreme Masters, follow on Twitter and Facebook.

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