Cover Image Courtesy: Wikimedia - Lestath | Thumbnail Image Courtesy - Intel Extreme Masters
The playoffs of IEM Katowice 2020 will be played in front of an empty Spodek Arena without any audience. This is because the Gouverneur of Silesian Jaroslaw Wieczorek has issued a decision to revoke ESL’s ‘mass event license’ for the tournament “due to the dynamic changes in the global health situation.”
Because of the on-going Coronavirus Pandemic that recently started to spread in Europe from Italy, the Silesian Voivodeship that had allowed ESL to organize the event removed their approval, due to which “Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2020 will not have any audience on-site. This means both (the) Spodek-Arena audience as well as IEM Expo.”
ESL via a blog stated that it respects the decision of the local authorities and will fully refund the tickets to their respective buyers, while also mentioning that “The tournament will be conducted and broadcasted as planned, but without any additional visitors on-site.”
Just a day after announcing that extra precautionary measures have been taken by ESL amid the coronavirus outbreak to detect and contain the virus, through the installation of ‘health screenings’ and multiple ‘temperature checkpoints’, along with the availability of on-site ‘medical professionals’ and ‘additional sanitation stations’, things took a turn for the worse.
This will probably be the first time in the history of an IEM tournament that a LAN final will be played in an empty stadium, that too the prestigious Spodek Arena which has witnessed countless epic matches in the past.
The coronavirus outbreak has led to various problems for many esport tournaments across various gaming titles and teams as well, but this might well be the biggest hit that an event has suffered till now.