ESL, the world’s largest esports company, is bringing the Intel Extreme Masters series to Australia for the first time. The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event will be hosted at the 18,000 capacity Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney and will boast an impressive AU$260,000 (£161,044) in prize money.
The event, running from 6-7 May will be the first stop of the 12th season of the Intel Extreme Masters.
The announcement already lists two teams who have received direct invites for the tournament. These are the Brazilian side of SK Gaming and leading Australian side Renegades. With remaining tournament information unknown, including the schedule, format and qualification, there’s a lot for CS:GO fans to mull over. However, Fox Sports Australia has suggested that “four other international invitees are expected to attend along with local hopefuls”, which indicates that qualifiers will mix global and Australian teams.
Michal Blicharz, VP Pro Gaming at ESL, said: “Having been to five different continents is a badge of honour for our historic competition. Australia has been an attractive market for us as part of our global expansion of the Intel Extreme Masters brand. We look forward to bringing Intel Extreme Masters to new global audiences and making history for esports in Australia.”
Frank Soqui, General Manager of the Virtual Reality and Gaming Group at Intel, said: “Intel has a long history with the esports community and we’re always looking for ways to give gamers the first opportunities with amazing new gaming experiences. Intel Extreme Masters is the perfect venue for Intel to bring our gaming and VR products directly to the gaming community around the world. We are proud, honored and can’t wait to kick off Intel Extreme Masters in Australia.”
This is set to mark the largest event held in Australia for CS:GO, with the previous record being the Crown Invitational, a AU$55,555 (£34,400) event held in 2015.
Esports Insider says: Esports expands down under. It’s good to see IEM hitting yet another continent as it establishes itself as a truly global series. An event in Australia in May is sure to be a popular one with esports fans as well.