ESL Reveals Dates For IEM Katowice And IEM Cologne

Prominent esports tournament organizer ESL announced the schedule for its two premier Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments.

Prominent esports tournament organizer ESL announced the schedule for its two premier Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments. The announcement also confirms that the two events of the ESL Pro Tour will happen in 2023.

IEM Katowice Scheduled For January-February

According to ESL’s announcement, the IEM Katowice 2023 will be an offline event with a $1,000,000 prize pool and is set to take place on January 31 – February 12. Although ESL have yet to unveil the finer details, the Polish LAN event has been confirmed to take place two weeks earlier than the 2022 edition.

IEM Katowice 2023 will return to Spodek Arena in Katowice, Poland, welcoming 24 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams, who will compete for a $400,000 winner’s share and a direct invite to IEM Cologne.

The tournament will kick off with the Play-in stage, which will run from January 31 to February 1. The Play-in stage will welcome 16 CS:GO teams who will compete in a double-elimination bracket for eight tickets leading into the Group Stage.

All opening Play-in matches will be played as best-of-one (Bo1), with all following fixtures as best-of-three (Bo3). The list of teams that will be invited to the Play-in stage will include four teams based on their ESL World Ranking, three top-rated teams on the European ranking, two from NA, and one from South America, Asia, and Oceania.

Joining the 12 teams will be the champions of Mistrzostwa Polski and Elisa Masters Espoo 2022, as well as two other champions of an affiliate event.

The tournament will continue with the Group Stage, slated for February 2-5, where the 16 CS:GO teams will be split into two GSL groups of eight. All matches will be played as Bo3, with the group winners advancing directly into the semifinal.

The second-placed and third-placed teams from each group will advance into the quarter-finals as high and low seeds, respectively.

The IEM Katowice Playoffs will be held on October 10-12 where the remaining squads will battle in a Bo3, single-elimination bracket. The grand final will be Bo5.

IEM Cologne Returns In July

Besides announcing IEM Katowice 2023, ESL also unveiled more details about the IEM Cologne 2023, which is slated for July 24 – August 6. Like IEM Katowice, the IEM Cologne will welcome 24 CS:GO teams who will battle it out for the lion’s share of the $1,000,000 prize pool, using the same tournament format.

The Play-In stage will begin on July 25 and conclude on July 26, when the top eight teams will advance into the group stage. The main event will kick off on July 27, with the 16 teams divided into two GSL groups of eight.

All opening group stage matches will be played as Bo1, while the rest will be Bo3 to determine which three teams will advance into the playoffs. Like in IEM Katowice, the group winners will receive a direct bye into the semifinals, while the second and third-placed teams will be seeded into the quarter-finals as high and low seeds.

Notably, the IEM Cologne 2023 will fall in the latter part of the year for the first time due to the CSPPA’s changes to the summer break, effectively moving the interval a month earlier. The governing body decided to move the summer tournament break in order to split the year into two more even seasons.

Besides announcing the dates, ESL also unveiled that IEM Cologne will return to the iconic LANXESS Arena, where it had already been held in 2022.

“It’s always an honor to invite fans back to two of the most recognizable esports events worldwide,” said Senior Director Game Ecosystems – CS:GO at ESL FACEIT Group, Shaun Clark.

While the two tournaments have been announced, they’re still months away. For now, the CS:GO world is focused on the upcoming IEM Rio Major, which will kick off on October 31.