ESL’s next big tournament, IEM Cologne, will be played on LAN the tournament organizers announced on Friday.
The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event runs from July 6-18 and will be played in a studio instead of a live audience. The field includes 24 top teams who will compete for a $1 million prize pool. The scene’s last in-person and LAN tournament was IEM Katowice back in 2020.
The competition is getting back where it belongs. The best teams. In one place.
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) June 25, 2021
IEM Cologne schedule
The IEM Cologne LAN event will feature a play-in stage that occupies the first two days. A group stage will follow for the next three days, and then the event will enter its playoff stage, which starts July 16. The final day will feature the final, as the last two teams battle for the title and the lion’s share of the prize pool.
Only eight teams will leave the play-in stage, and the opening matches will best-of-ones with double elimination. Best-of -threes will follow the opening games. The group stage will also be double elimination, as the top three teams from each group move on to the playoffs. The rest of the event will play out in the same way, with the final two teams competing in a best-of-five final.
“We will be in touch with the community in the coming days to explain better what to expect and how it’s all coming together,” said ESL Vice President of Product Development Michal Blicharz.
1) It's happening. Teams are booked. ✈️
2) Not 8 teams, not 16. It's 24 teams with all the complexities of it.
3) We will be in touch with the community in the coming days to explain better what to expect and how it's all coming together.
— Michal Blicharz (@mbCARMAC) June 25, 2021
The current field of teams includes Gambit Esports, Astralis, G2 Esports, FaZe Clan, Evil Geniuses and many more. Each team qualified or was invited through the ESL Road to Cologne series.
ESL has events planned for later in 2021 that will compete on LAN and feature a live audience, notably IEM Winter in Asia this December. Other events, like EPL: Season 14 Malta and IEM Fall 2021, are also slated for studio competition.