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ESL to Implement Crowd Interference Measures at IEM Katowice 2020

Aditya Singh Rawat
21st Feb, 2020

Cover Image Courtesy: IEM - Bart Oerbekke | Thumbnail Image Courtesy: ESL Gaming

ESL has acknowledged the impact that crowd interference can have on the outcome of a CS:GO match and to curb such things from happening in future tournaments, Michal “Carmac” Blicharz - VP of Pro Gaming at ESL took to Reddit to address this issue as it “sits on the intersection of tournament integrity and show quality.”

With IEM Katowice just ‘round the corner Blicharz came forth to discuss measures that ESL will be implementing in Katowice to avoid such issues.

[Also Read: ViCi Gaming to Miss IEM Katowice 2020 due to Coronavirus]


He straight up stated that “the core issue lies with (the) audience behavior.” As information is the most important asset that determines the outcome of the round or the game, “Players finding information out from fans isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.”

Talking a bit about the etiquette shown by crowds in golf, snooker, and tennis, he implied that CS:GO crowd should also be in the same place and know “when to cheer and not to cheer.”

Here are the steps to control audience behavior that will take place in Katowice,

  • PSA (Public Service Announcement) videos will be run at the event via the stage MC (master of ceremonies), educating the crowd “on what we think is appropriate and what isn’t.”

  • Crowds are not supposed to cheer before moments like knife kill, during ‘trigger discipline’ moments, when a player is checking or holding a corner, etc. These are the moments “when the audience waits until the deed is done.”

  • Also taking into consideration a suggestion given by Chad “SPUNJ” Burchill, if the audience fails to behave properly despite their efforts and suggestions, the ‘x-ray vision’ in the arena will be disabled for 20+ mins for every time an incident occurs.

  • Blicharz also makes it very clear that they will eject any individual from the premises that deserve it.

The following steps have been taken instead of the needs for booths at professional CS:GO tournaments because Blicharz “fundamentally believe(s) in the chemistry of the players and the audience.” They (ESL) do not want players to feel isolated instead, they want “players to feel what Lionel Messi feels when he scores a goal and booths are counter to that.”

“The chemistry between the players and the audience raises the experience on an emotional level for everyone. We want a virtuous cycle of fans getting amped by what players do and players getting amped because the audience is reacting to them.”


During the ESL Pro League Season 10, Astralis were helped by the crowd while facing mousesports in the semifinals, though it wasn’t enough for the Danes to attain victory, it was the moment when everyone started taking the matter seriously.

Everyone from Robin “ropz” Kool, Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke, and Andreas “Xyp9x” Hojsleth, were in favor of introducing player booths, though Xyp9x had associated cost-related concerns with it it was clear what the players had in mind.

[Also Read: Xyp9x and k0nfig Weigh in their Opinions on Solutions for the "Crowd Cheating" Situation]

Let’s see what if this approach by ESL works or not. If it works then it will probably be implemented at the Rio Major 2020 as well, otherwise, we might be seeing the introduction of player booths.

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Aditya Singh Rawat is the in-house CS:GO editor at AFK Gaming. While his understanding of the esports space is not restricted by geographical borders, his current focus lies in the Asian region. Understands and follows almost all major esport titles.