Intel Extreme Masters ESL, the world’s largest esports company and Intel, the technology leader in esports, announced a multi-year partnership with the United Center and the Wintrust Arena as the new home of Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) in North America. IEM is the longest-running global pro gaming circuit in the world, and this year, the North America event moves from Oakland to Chicago. The first installment of IEM Chicago will be held at the Wintrust Arena in 2018 and move to the United Center, home of the professional basketball team the Chicago Bulls, in 2019 and 2020.
With Chicago among the largest cities in the United States and its experience in hosting large-scale sports and entertainment events, it is not only a fitting new location but also an important stop in the global tour of the circuit, in addition to IEM Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, IEM Sydney and IEM Shanghai. IEM Chicago 2018 will feature the world’s best 16 teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) who are battling over a lion’s share of the $250,000 USD prize pool in front of a live audience on November 10-11, 2018.
Out of the 16 participating teams, 10 will be invited directly to the group stages of the event, which will kick off on November 6-9. The remaining 6 spots will be filled with the winners of qualifiers in Europe, Asia and the Americas. The top four teams who fought their way through the group stages will get the chance to show off their skills at the playoffs in front of a live audience. IEM Intel Extreme Masters Chicago 2018 will be also part of the Intel® Grand Slam, which will award a $1,000,000 USD bonus prize for the first team to win four of the last ten major CS:GO events organized by ESL and DreamHack.
“Chicago is known for fierce competition, innovative thinking and world-class events, so bringing Intel Extreme Masters to the city was an easy choice and a testament to the global appeal of esports. There are more than 1.3 billion PC gamers on the planet and that number just keeps growing, making this one of the most exciting times we’ve seen in the PC industry,” said John Bonini, Vice President of the VR, Gaming and Esports Group at Intel Corporation.