Intel® Extreme Masters Katowice Play-off Stage starts in two days – As the top six CS:GO teams take a breather, StarCraft II tournament kicks off and IEM Expo returns in full swing!

On February 10-12, the top six teams of the $1,000,000 CS:GO competition will head to the Spodek Arena for the final stage of the tournament

Today, February 8, 36 of the best StarCraft® II players begin their battle for the World Championship title and a share of the $500,000 prize pool with the final competition days being played out live at the IEM Expo

This year’s IEM Expo will also host live ESL Impact and ESL R1 tournaments, the EFG Esports Forum, one of the biggest trade shows in the region, and much more

Cologne/New York/Katowice – With two more days to go before the Hall of Heroes opens its gates for fans to experience the legendary atmosphere of the Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice 2023 live, the tournament is entering its most crucial point. Over the last week, 24 of the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) teams from around the globe participated in a heated competition, with only the top six progressing to the final stage. With the CS:GO teams fine-tuning their skills before their next battles, 36 of the world’s best StarCraft® II players now take the center stage. Over the next few days, they will play against each other to claim the ESL Pro Tour Championship title. 

Meanwhile, thousands of fans get ready to cheer on their CS:GO favorites in the sold-out Spodek Arena and their StarCraft® II idols in the International Congress Center (MCK), in Katowice, Poland. Moreover, they can look forward to the return of the free-to-enter IEM Expo, as the MCK will host one of the biggest trade shows in the region, the EFG Esports Forum, live ESL Impact and ESL R1 tournaments, and more. 

ESL Pro Tour for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Championship

Yesterday, the Group Stage came to an end, and now the top six teams are making their way toward the final weekend. The competition proved that the best players in the world brought their A-game to Katowice, and the past week resulted in some big surprises. 

To begin with, IEM Katowice 2022 title holders, FaZe Clan, will not be defending their title this year. In their last game of the Group Stage, the international squad faced Team Liquid, with the latter winning the match 2-1. 

In the quarterfinals of the competition, Team Liquid will be joined by the IEM Rio 2022 Major Champion, Outsiders, and the ESL Pro League Season 16 winner, Team Vitality. The last spot was decided in a hit match between legendary snipers in Natus Vincere vs. G2 Esports, where the latter took a confident victory. While Natus Vincere proceeds to the quarterfinals starting on Friday, February 10, at 3:30 PM CET, G2 Esports joins team Heroic directly in the semi-finals. This penultimate phase will commence Saturday, February 11, at 3:30 PM CET.

With only two days left before history will be made, the top six competitors are now getting ready to show their world-class performances in the final stage of the ESL Pro Tour for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Championship and fight for the major share in the $1,000,000 prize pool.

For more information and a full overview of the participating teams, the talent lineup, and more, head to the official website and follow ESL CS on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Furthermore, make sure to tune in during the live broadcasts on the ESL CS channels on Twitch or YouTube, or via our dedicated broadcast partners.

ESL Pro Tour for StarCraft® II Championship

Today the Zealots, Marines, and Zerglings are facing off under their commander’s supervision. 36 of the best StarCraft® II players in the world are competing in a grand tournament, fighting for the World Championship title and a total prize pool of $500,000. From February 10, the competition moves to a dedicated stage at the IEM Expo in the MCK as the contenders continue their extragalactic battle live on stage.

Head to the official website, and follow ESL SC2 on Twitter and Facebook, for additional details about the IEM Katowice 2023 StarCraft® II Championship, the full lineup of contenders, and more. The live transmissions of the competition will be available on the ESL SC2 channels on Twitch, Youtube and via our dedicated broadcast partners.

The return of the IEM Expo

For the first time in over three years, IEM Katowice returns in full glory along with the IEM Expo, filled with major highlights. Besides the StarCraft® II Championship and many other activities, this year’s IEM Expo features two additional esports competitions: 

  • This year marks the beginning of a new chapter for virtual racing fans. With a total prize pool of $500,000 for 2023, ESL R1 kicks off at IEM Katowice 2023 on February 11-12. This brand-new championship, co-created with RENNSPORT, will see 48 drivers from 12 teams compete in eight rounds in order to qualify for the ESL R1 Major. Make sure to check out the first two rounds of the 2023 Spring season, which will be played out live at the IEM Expo.
  • Starting its second year, the all-women CS:GO circuit, ESL Impact, makes its debut in Poland as eight of the best women CS:GO teams from around the world face each other in a standalone live event. Cheered on by their fans, the participating teams will fight for a prize pool of $100,000.

IEM Expo visitors also have the opportunity to check out the ESL Pro Tour for CS:GO Championship live in a dedicated area inside the Spodek Arena. Note that space is limited and that the entrance policy happens on a first come, first serve basis.

The IEM Expo, however, is not only about esports – it is a shared celebration of passion where fans of new technologies, gaming, and pop culture get to meet and create unforgettable memories. To support this, the free-of-charge event will host a renowned trade show where some of the largest brands from around the world will be present. Exhibitors have prepared numerous activities, including free2play zones and competitions from brands such as Intel®, Komputronik Gaming, Monster Energy, Samsung, Microsoft, HyperX, Hewlett-Packard, and more. Visitors can look forward to some of the newest titles in gaming, taking part in numerous tournaments and competitions, and joining meet-and-greet sessions with influencers. Among the exhibitors are:

  • The ESL LAN Party will host a set of activities from the zone’s partners, including a chillout zone with a view of the StarCraft II stage, numerous hardware partners, and a central zone including IEM Katowice’s first-ever Cosplay Competition led by Shappi Workshop
  • Lenovo Legion will create an experience benefiting from all aspects of the event as visitors have the opportunity to play and compete in some of the biggest competitive game titles, participate in product demonstrations by Polish tech influencers, and enjoy a spectacular concert of one of the most popular Polish rappers of the new generation – Smolasty – on February 10 from 5PM until 6PM.
  • Nintendo’s distributor ConQuest entertainment has prepared a booth for you to have tons of fun with your Nintendo Switch console! Whether you are fighting a battle of colors in Splatoon 3, scoring points in Mario Strikers: Battle League Football, or trying out an array of sports in Nintendo Switch Sports,  plenty of fun is guaranteed.
  • RENNSPORT will bring two virtual racing rigs where you have the opportunity to drive in the future of virtual racing and to experience for yourself the game that the ESL R1 drivers are racing in.
  • Further information on what to expect at the IEM Expo can be found HERE.

Furthermore, IEM Katowice is creating an opportunity to celebrate, experience, and learn. To emphasize this, the EFG Esports Forum features representatives of the esports and gaming industries, business partners, and opinions leaders who will discuss the future of the industry during two conference days:

  • Friday, February 10 – “Esports Elevated. Trends and perspectives” – The first part of the forum is open for everyone interested in the esports industry, its business, and its future. Registration is available HERE.
  • Saturday, February 11 – “Video games and esports: an opportunity for Europe’s digital future. The example of Poland” – This second part focuses on the relationship between the esports industry and the economy – nationwide and local. Registration is available HERE

The beginning of the CS:GO tournament marks the 11th time ESL is returning to the Polish city of Katowice. The event marks the pinnacle of competition, emotions, and rivalry while celebrating shared passion. Make sure to be part of this historic moment by joining us on-site in Katowice, tuning in during the live transmissions of the esports competitions, and following all events on the official EFG’s social media channels. 

For more general information, make sure to follow ESL FACEIT Group and ESL on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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About ESL

ESL creates a world where everybody can be somebody. For more than two decades, we have been shaping the industry and leading esports and gaming innovation globally across the most popular video games, creating a comprehensive ecosystem with opportunities for players to go from zero to hero and for fans to witness the best stories esports has to offer. The ESL portfolio consists of high-profile products such as the ESL Pro Tour, Intel® Extreme Masters, the Snapdragon Pro Series, and many more, ranging from grassroots to global elite competitions. ESL is part of ESL FACEIT Group, the leading competitive games and esports company.

About 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 features the world’s best gamers in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, StarCraft® II, and other esport titles. Approaching two decades of history and many record-breaking events in terms of viewership and stadium attendance, IEM is widely considered one of the most prestigious and traditional esports tournaments in the world (

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