Intel® Extreme Masters to return down under as ESL presents Intel® Extreme Masters Sydney 2023

The ESL Pro Tour Masters competition for Counter-Strike will be hosted in connection with SXSW Sydney on October 16-22, 2023

-Intel® Extreme Masters Sydney 2023 to take place on October 16-22.
-The ESL Pro Tour Masters competition features 16 top-tier Counter-Strike teams competing for a $250,000 (USD) total prize pool, and a win in the race to the Intel® Grand Slam.
-The Playoffs on October 20-22 is set to take place live in the Aware Super Theatre at ICC Sydney in Sydney, Australia.
-The ticket sale starts on June 22.

Cologne/New York/Sydney ESL, an ESL FACEIT Group brand, has today revealed that it will bring more world-class esports to Australia later this year as Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) returns to Sydney for the fourth time.

IEM Sydney 2023 will happen in connection with SXSW Sydney 2023 on October 16-22. Fans from Australia and beyond can look forward to cheering on their favorite Counter-Strike teams during the final stage of the competition, which will take place in the Aware Super Theatre at ICC Sydney in Sydney, Australia. 

Featuring 16 top-tier Counter-Strike teams from around the globe, the competition kicks off with the Group Stage on October 16-18. During those days, the competing squads will face off in two groups of eight. 

At stake are one of six available spots in the Playoffs on October 20-22 and a share of the $250,000 (USD) total prize pool. Furthermore, the winning team will qualify for the first next ESL Pro Tour Championship event in 2024, and can add a win in the race to the Intel® Grand Slam helping them get one step closer to obtaining its $1,000,000 cash prize. 

The 16 competing squads consist of six Partner Teams, a Local Hero Invite, and four teams qualifying via the ESL World Ranking. The remaining five teams qualify via regional Open and Closed Qualifiers:

  • Europe
    • Open Qualifier #1 – August 9-10 – Two teams progress to the Closed Qualifier
    • Open Qualifier #2 – August 11-12 – Two teams progress to the Closed Qualifier
    • Closed Qualifier – August 23-25 – Featuring eight teams of which two teams qualify for IEM Sydney 2023
  • North America
    • Open Qualifier #1 – August 9-10 – One team progresses to the Closed Qualifier
    • Open Qualifier #2 – August 11-12 – One team progresses to the Closed Qualifier
    • Closed Qualifier – August 24-25 – Featuring four teams of which one team qualifies for IEM Sydney 2023
  • Asia
    • Open Qualifier #1 – August 9-10 – One team progresses to the Closed Qualifier
    • Open Qualifier #2 – August 11-12 – One team progresses to the Closed Qualifier
    • Closed Qualifier – August 24-25 – Featuring four teams of which one team qualifies for IEM Sydney 2023
  • Oceania
    • Open Qualifier #1 – August 9-10 – One team progresses to the Closed Qualifier
    • Open Qualifier #2 – August 11-12 – One team progresses to the Closed Qualifier
    • Closed Qualifier – August 22-23 – Featuring four teams of which one team qualifies for IEM Sydney 2023

Since our last IEM Sydney tournament in 2019, we’ve heard the growing chorus of Australian esports fans who have expressed their desire for a return of this iconic event,” commented Graeme Du Toit, Head of Sales & Marketing Australia at ESL FACEIT Group. “So, when we were presented with a special opportunity to host IEM in Sydney again this year, we leapt at it. We’ll be counting on our fans to once again show why they’re the best esports crowd in the world this October.”

Australia has a special place in our hearts when it comes to Counter-Strike events. Over the past months, Melbourne has been an amazing host for our ESL Challenger competitions, and we definitely can’t wait to come to Sydney with another IEM event,” said Shaun Clark, Senior Director Game Ecosystems – CS:GO at ESL FACEIT Group. “The city has already seen some of the greatest teams in Counter-Strike history be crowned Champions, including SK Gaming, FaZe Clan, and Team Liquid. Now, fans can look forward to another unforgettable event, as the world’s best teams will return to the city soon.

The ticket sale for IEM Sydney 2023 starts on June 22, 2023, at 4:30 PM AEST. 3-day General Admission tickets are available from A$159, with General Admission Plus (A$199), Premium (A$279) and ‘God Mode’ (A$1,399) ticket types also available. More information about the ticket types and how to secure your particular ticket can be found here.

SXSW badge holders with a Sydney Platinum (A$1,495) or Games (A$1,095) badge can also access all three days of IEM Sydney 2023. An allocation of seats in the Aware Super Theatre will be set aside each day for SXSW Sydney badge holders. Learn more and buy your badge at

IEM Sydney 2023 will be broadcast live on ESL Counter-Strike’s Twitch and YouTube channels, and via dedicated broadcast partners. For more details about the competition, check out the official website and follow ESL Counter-Strike on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. For more general information, head over to and follow ESL FACEIT Group on LinkedIn.


About ESL FACEIT Group

ESL FACEIT Group (EFG) is the leading esports and video game entertainment company dedicated to creating worlds beyond gameplay where players and fans become community. EFG is built on a legacy of world-renowned brands including ESL, FACEIT, DreamHack and DreamHack Sports Games, providing innovative ecosystems for global communities of players, fans and creators around the games they love. Working alongside leading partners, brands and global IPs, EFG operates an unmatched portfolio of live events, digital platforms and developer tools that reach and engage millions of gamers worldwide. For more information visit

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 (

About SXSW Sydney™

​​SXSW Sydney will become the official annual Asia-Pacific instalment of SXSW®. With a welcoming and vibrant energy, coupled with a uniquely distinct mix of iconic attractions, stunning natural landscapes, and status as the major events capital of the Asia-Pacific – there is no better city than Sydney to host SXSW’s next chapter. As Australia’s only truly global city and gateway for international arrivals, Sydney’s cultural diversity makes it the perfect incubator for creative ingenuity. Informed by a multicultural landscape and an enduring preservation of past, present and future Indigenous cultural heritage, Sydney offers a rich and exciting arts and culture scene with beautiful galleries, acclaimed theatres and burgeoning performance spaces. Sydney continues to lead the way in tech-innovation, boasting an eclectic creative footprint, ranking second in Asia for fin-tech development, and sixth globally*. 

SXSW Sydney gathers inspired thinkers, creators and innovators from across the world for an agenda-setting exploration of the Tech and Innovation, Gaming, Music, Screen and Culture industries. From start-up pitches, networking opportunities and mind-bending activations in technology, to showcasing future trends across interconnected layers of the gaming industry, SXSW Sydney will unite gaming, tech and innovation industry professionals within a future-facing series of Expos. Meanwhile, established and emerging artists will reach new audiences at the SXSW Sydney Music Festivals, and a Screen Festival program will engage public and industry audiences to honour screen culture in the Asia-Pacific region.

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