The last planned LAN CS:GO tournament this year was IEM Katowice 2020 which took place in an empty Spoked Arena. This was followed by months of online competitive CS:GO which has continued to take place till now.
With the 2020 competitive circuit coming to an end soon, tournament organizers have started announcing their plans for next year and it seems the $1 million IEM Katowice 2021 might be CS:GO’s return to a LAN tournament, but without a live audience.
IEM Katowice 2021 will be the return of competitive CS:GO to a LAN environment, but it will not be taking place in front of a live audience in the Spodek Arena. ESL instead plans on hosting the tournament in a studio environment somewhere in Europe with teams flying down to the location, this way the organizers will be able to handle the situation better and prevent any sort of health hazard.
This plan of hosting a CS:GO tournament in a controlled LAN environment is still subject to change if in case, the global health scenario degrades or proves to be a barrier towards the safety of talent, players, and staff. If such a scenario occurs then IEM Katowice 2021 will revert to an online CS:GO tournament which will still take place in Europe.
The Intel Grand Slam eligible tournament will be featuring a total prize pool $1,000,000 and take place in three stages; Play-In Stage followed by the Group Stage and finally the Playoffs.
The Play-In Stage is scheduled to take place from 16th-17th February and will be taking place between 16 teams. The top eight teams will then qualify for the group stage where they will face off against eight more invited teams from 18th-21at February. Four teams will then move on to the Playoffs set to take place from 26th-28th February.
ESL has also offered ticket holders for the tournament option to either refund their tickets or to hold on to them for IEM Katowice 2022. It will be interesting to see if the organizers actually go forward with a studio based CS:GO LAN tournament as it is turning out to be quite the packed event with all the big tier-one teams set to participate in it.