Intel Extreme Masters (“IEM”), the longest running global pro gaming tour in the world, is returning to Australia this May. The elite gaming competition will expand as sixteen world-class Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams compete live in Sydney at the Qudos Bank Arena over May 4-6, for a record prize pool of USD$250,000 (AUD$310,000).
The line-up of top teams invited to compete at IEM Sydney will also be fighting for another point towards the Intel Grand Slam, which will reward $1,000,000 to the first team that wins four of the last ten Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitions hosted by ESL and DreamHack. Four teams already have at least one or more wins under their belt that count toward the Intel Grand Slam, with SK Gaming leading in the challenge with two wins that bring them closer to being the first Intel Grand Slam Champions.
“What happened at last year’s Intel Extreme Masters Sydney event completely blew us away,” said Michal Blicharz, VP Pro Gaming at ESL. “The Australian esports audience was extremely engaged in the event and became a part of the show. That type of atmosphere is very rare. They left us no choice but to come back and do it again.”
“Last year’s IEM Sydney event marked a watershed moment for the landscape of Australian esports, proving that this region has a huge appetite for the best esports content,” said Nick Vanzetti, Managing Director at ESL Australia. “Fans turned up in droves to experience the magic of the arena spectacle; the competition on stage was fierce and the crowd was electric. In Australia, the esports audience is growing exponentially year on year, and IEM Sydney 2018 hopes to raise the bar once again for fans and spectators the world over.”
“The most rewarding part of last year’s Intel Extreme Masters event in Sydney was seeing the way the fans interacted with the tournament and also with the games, community and technology at the Intel Experience Area. Intel is proud to continue building on IEM Sydney and we can’t wait to see what we’ll achieve together this year,” said John Bonini, Vice President/GM of the VR, Gaming and Esports Group at Intel Corporation.
Last year, IEM Sydney drew crowds of over 7,000 esports fans each day to the Qudos Bank Arena across two main event days, while nearly 8 million viewers watched the tournament online. It was the largest esports event ever held in Australia.
Attendees of Intel Extreme Masters Sydney this year will have the chance to experience a wider range of side-events and other attractions at the Expo, as the event expands to three days. As well as being able to view the world’s best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players live in an arena setting, fans will have the chance to meet their esports idols face-to-face at signing sessions, and participate in giveaways from partners and sponsors. A must-see showcase at all IEM events is the Intel Experience Area featuring the latest 8th Gen Intel Core i7 and Intel Core i9 processors. The immersive gaming and esports experience features the latest PC games, VR games, and Intel’s leading gaming technology.