Australia Hosts World’s Best at the Intel Extreme Masters 2018
Australia’s biggest esports event returns to Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena this weekend, May 4-6. Sixteen of the world’s best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams will be competing for their share of a AUD $300,000 prize pool and a chance to compete in the inaugural $1,000,000 Intel Grand Slam, in late 2018.
This is the second time Australia has seen an esport event of this size on our shores, with last year’s IEM Sydney drawing 7,000 fans per day and over 8 million viewers on line. The Australian esports community has consistently showed its dedication to attend live esports championships, bringing confidence that the 2018 event will draw even larger crowds than last year.
“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.”
The tense action in the main arena will also be complimented with a stack of side tournaments on the ‘ESL Community Stage’. We will see the best in OCE StarCraft go head to head in the Challenger Season 2 on Saturday May 5th followed by the ESL Women’s Sydney Open, Presented by Vodafone on Sunday May 6th.
“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. Fans turned up in droves to experience the magic of the arena spectacle; the competition on stage was fierce and the crowd was electric,” said Nick Vanzetti, Managing Director at ESL Australia.
New this year is the ESL partnership with Vodafone which will gather the best women’s teams from Australia and New Zealand to compete for a prize pool of $10,000. Competitor and captain of a finalist team Jessica Majrouh, said the ESL Women’s Sydney Open is a great opportunity to give women the experience to showcase their potential and skill, while establishing a stable and driven environment within Australian esports.
“With the support of large brands entering the esports space, and a combined effort from tournament organisers like ESL, there is hope that we will have the backing to allow our community to develop and flourish for the future generation of women in esports,” she said.
The ever-growing interest in live esports events is creating more opportunities to develop a number of professional esports facilities in Australia and attract more tournaments of this scale.
In the larger, overseas markets such as North America, UK, Europe and Asia we’re starting to see the construction of dedicated esports facilities like the Populous designed Esports Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The $10million (USD), 1,000 seat Arlington esports arena will be North America’s first dedicated esports stadium. The arena is being designed to be the largest and most flexible esports stadium in the country, featuring hospitality suites, shops, casual gaming spaces and team training areas.