The Electronic Sports League (ESL), one of the biggest eSports companies in the world, is going to be making a major change ahead of its upcoming ESL One event in Cologne. The $250,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament will be the first ESL run event to feature random drug testing for performance enhancing drugs.
I hope you’ve blocked off your weekend to watch some eSports. ESL is having their big IEM season finale event in Katowice this weekend. The highlight is probably the IEM World Championship of StarCraft II which sees the best in the world battle it out for ESL’s version of the world championship and a $68,000 payday. The folks at ESL have also pulled in some top talent for their League of Legends, CS:GO and Hearthstone tournaments.
The first visit of ESL’s StarCraft II flagship series to Canada looks to have nothing short of an all-star lineup. We already looked at the twelve qualifiers and invitees to IEM Toronto which includes seven of the top ten players in the World Championship Series points standings.
With a week until the tournament starts, IEM and ESL announced the group drawings for the tournament and the sixteen participants in the Dual Tournaments for the last four spots in the Round of 16. The lineup is one of the most stacked tournaments of the year outside of the WCS and a must-watch for SC2 fans.
The eight qualifier and four wildcard spots for the upcoming Intel Extreme Masters Season IX event at Fan Expo in Toronto have been set. Over 200 StarCraft II players tried to enter the biggest SC2 tournament in Canada this year but only eight qualified straight through to the group stages.
It was just speculation when IEM Canada first announced but the folks behind Fan Expo have made it official. This August’s stop on ESL’s Intel Extreme Masters tour will be coming to Toronto as part of Fan Expo Canada.
After the massive success of the 2013 StarCraft II World Championship Series Season 3 World Finals in Toronto, it was only a matter of time before the highest level of competitive SC2 returned to Canada. It won’t ESL bringing WCS Americas to Canada but ESL’s premiere competition series, Intel Extreme Masters, that will be coming to Canada for a stop in August.
First, it was their takeover over the WCS America. Now, ESL is launching their eSports takeover of the whole of the Americas after buying eSports Services (ESS) and launching a new studio in Los Angeles to host ESL’s operations in North America.
With a peak of over 600,000 concurrent viewers on Twitch and over 1,000,000 concurrent viewers when adding in other sources, the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship from Katowice, Poland, was an absolute success. It was the ESL’s most-watched tournament and the most-watched event based in Europe in eSports history with 5.7 million hours more content watched than the previous record holder, the 2013 Dreamhack Winter Championship.
For this and more stats about IEM Katowice, we have a handy infographic for your perusal.
The old sports cliche of big players make big plays in big games applies to eSports as well. Just five months after being crowned the StarCraft II World Champion at BlizzCon, Korean Protoss player sOs staked his claim to being the closest thing that SC2 has to an undisputed world champion by winning the $100,000 winner-takes-all Intel Extreme Masters World Championship.
The company in charge of production of the Americas region of the StarCraft II World Championship Series announced on Friday that they would be ceasing to produce WCS effective immediately. In a statement on their website, the North American Star League announced that they would no longer producing StarCraft content.