Intel Extreme Masters will be held in Katowice until 2019. The City Council of Katowice has just adopted a resolution on this subject.
ESL has been organizing the e-sport tournament in the „Spodek” sport and exhibition hall since 2013. The third edition will be held in Katowice between 12th and 15th of March 2015. Now the council agreed to co-organize the event by the City of Katowice until 2019.
This year’s edition in Katowice gathered viewers from over 180 countries worldwide, which produced over 23 thousand video plays and consumed 12,6 million hours of video, nearly doubling the audience from last year’s IEM World Championship, and promoting Katowice all around the world.
The growing popularity of e-sports was also recognized by The New York Times, which mentioned this year’s tournament in Katowice in its article that appeared in print on 31st of August 31, 2014, on the first page of The New York Times (New York edition): “This stuff is expanding out of control,” said James Lampkin, a product manager for ESL (for Electronic Sports League), one of the biggest e-sports leagues, which had 73 000 attendees at a four-day tournament in Katowice, Poland, in March. “We have no idea what the limits are.”
It is expected that the IEM Katowice will gather over 100 000 spectators in the 2015 edition.
With lucrative cash prizes, sponsorship deals and fans in the millions, e-sports gamers are called the next generation of pro athletes. The prize money of the IEM Katowice totaled over USD 0,5 million this year (USD 250 000 in 2013). A total prize money of USD 10,9 million at this year’s tournament in Seattle was by far the the biggest in the history of e-sports. Pro gaming has emerged as very big business and is growing, according to Intel. Top players take home six-figure incomes and some have even amassed total winnings of over USD 1 million as in case of the Seattle event.
„They train for hours each day, score lucrative endorsement deals, and get flown all over the world to compete in front of fans – sometimes at sold out venues – for big cash prizes. Such is the life of a professional athlete. Top players get recruited into professionally managed teams […]. But these aren’t race car drivers, golfers or professional tennis players. These are video gamers” – Intel explains.
ESL events are hosted in such huge venues as Spodek in Katowice, Madison Square Garden in New York or Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, but also the tournaments take place in much smaller places as Tokarnia in Tychy, a former brewery. The local government of Katowice wants to add another venue, where the additional events of IEM (e.g. exhibition and fairs) would be located. The construction work of the International Convention Center is just going to an end and the 34 900 sq. meters building is located just next door to „Spodek”.
The City Hall of Katowice has not yet decided about the amount of money to be spent for the co-organization of IEM Katowice between the years 2015-2019.