ESL take decision to transition Intel® Extreme Masters: Global Challenge into global online tournament

Decision is taken considering the health and wellbeing of teams and staff being paramount in the ongoing global pandemic

Cologne, November 9, 2020: ESL, the world’s largest esports company, has today announced that December’s Intel® Extreme Masters: Global Challenge will be held as a global online tournament. The original plans would have seen teams battle it out in person at ESL’s Cologne studio. However, with Germany currently increasing its COVID-19 restrictions for the month of November, the decision to transition to an online-only tournament has been taken to ensure the health and safety of all personnel involved.

Despite these changes, IEM: Global Challenge is still set to be a global tournament that will close 2020 in extraordinary style. Taking place from December 15th-20th, it will bring the best eight North American and European teams together online to compete for US$500,000 in prize money. ESL will support all eight teams in finding suitable facilities within Europe whereby each team’s players and coaches can safely compete in one global division to provide one overall IEM: Global Challenge champion. Furthermore, due to its cross-region nature and prominence in the esports calendar, the tournament will also count towards the Intel® Grand Slam. 

Fans across the world will still be able to tune in to the action and follow the tournament via online broadcasts.

Michal “Carmac” Blicharz, VP Pro Gaming at ESL, said: “In light of the rising infection numbers of Covid-19 across Europe, we have decided to move the tournament online.  We would have loved to have brought everyone together for this tournament, but we are obligated to act responsibly towards the players and the staff working at our events. ”

Yevhen Zolotarov, CEO NAVI: “We were of course looking forward to qualifying for a LAN competition, the IEM: Global Challenge. However, we completely support the decision ESL has made in moving the tournament online in order to ensure everyone’s safety – at the end of the day that is the most important thing. We are still super excited to qualify and compete in what is going to be the final online tournament of 2020. Bring on the challenge!”

Mads Øland, CEO CSPPA: “Players were nothing but excited about getting back on the road for a tournament of this caliber, but also fully understand that the time needs to be right and that this decision by ESL is also very much taken out of consideration for player health and safety. CSPPA’s no. 1 priority over the coming months is helping players getting safely back to LAN, fans and live audiences and we will continue to work closely with ESL and other tournament organizers to make that happen in 2021. We are optimistic about the prospects and in the meantime pro players are thrilled to provide online competition and entertainment to their fans in these challenging times.” 

For more information please visit or follow ESL on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.


About ESL Gaming

ESL Gaming is the world’s largest esports and gaming lifestyle company. Since 1994, the company has been shaping the industry and leading esports and gaming innovation on a global scale across the most popular video games with numerous online and offline esports competitions, and through premier gaming lifestyle festivals. The company operates high-profile, branded international leagues and tournaments under the ESL Pro Tour, including ESL One, Intel® Extreme Masters, DreamHack Masters, ESL Pro League, and other preeminent, stadium-size tournaments. ESL Gaming also produces and hosts DreamHack Open tournaments, ESL National Championships, grassroots amateur cups, matchmaking systems, and DreamHack’s gaming lifestyle festivals — which feature everything gaming under one roof. ESL Gaming is part of MTG, the leading international digital entertainment group. More information is available at

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