IEM Cologne 2021 Returns as In-Person Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Competition and Becomes The Highest Viewed CS:GO Tournament in 2021

During the first LAN in over 500 days, more than 840,000 people simultaneously watched teams compete for their share of a US $1 million prize pool

COLOGNE, July 20, 2021 ESL Gaming, the world’s largest esports company, and Intel® Corporation, one of the leading brands in esports, celebrate the successful conclusion of the Intel® Extreme Masters Cologne 2021. With a peak of more than 840,000 people watching the 3-0 grand final between Natus Vincere and G2 Esports at the same time (excluding China), the competition became the second highest viewed non-Major CS:GO tournament of all time, after IEM Katowice 2020.

For the first time in 504 days, the world’s best CS:GO teams have been brought together in the German city of Cologne to battle over US $1 million of prize money. Bringing in from all over the world approximately 200 players, coaches and staff from the 24 competing teams, IEM Cologne 2021 is the very first in-person CS:GO tournament taking place in almost one and a half years. Over 1,000 PCR tests have been conducted with 0 positive infectious test results, ensuring a secure environment for the teams to practice and to relax together, and to ultimately face their opponents in-person in the studio again.

After two weeks of competitive and exciting matchups, Natus Vincere beat G2 Esports in a 3-0 sweep in the grand final taking place on Sunday, July 18th, making it one of the greatest CS:GO teams and leaving it only one win away from winning the Intel® Grand Slam Season 3. On top of that, Natus Vincere’s player Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, was nominated as the ESL Pro Tour: DHL MVP of the tournament by fans and experts. With four aces, a KPR of 0.96 and an ADR of 93.1 across the whole tournament, he is currently widely considered to be the best CS: GO player of all time by the wider community.

“It was a great tournament,” said Natus Vincere player Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev. “For like one and a half years – I think 500 days, I was in my city and now everything is perfect and I hope that ESL and all the people who are involved are going to keep doing this great job.”

Up next in the ESL Pro Tour for CS:GO is ESL Pro League Season 14 which is set to take place on August 16 – September 12, followed by IEM Fall which will be held on September 28  – October 10. Check out our official event website for more information, browse the event photographs, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


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 Intel® Extreme Masters, ESL Pro League, and other preeminent, stadium-size tournaments such as ESL One. ESL Gaming also produces and hosts the ESL Mobile program, 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

Intel® Extreme Masters – Intel® Extreme Masters is the longest-running global professional esports tournament circuit in the world. Started in 2006 by Intel and ESL, the competition has now traveled to over 30 cities around the globe and conducted tournaments for 11 different competitive gaming titles. Esports fans from more than 180 countries regularly make IEM events record-breakers in terms of stadium attendance and viewership, with the tournament’s inaugural event in Australia in May 2017 marking the fifth continent for the global competitive circuit. Throughout more than 75 IEM events, over US $11 million in prize money has been awarded to some of the world’s top esports talent (

Contact us

EFG owns a portfolio of brands in different categories. We are leading the industry with numerous online and offline competitions, digital platforms as well as gaming lifestyle festivals.