Tournaments from titles such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO), DotA 2, and League of Legends (LoL), take place all around the world. Some cities, however, have become a benchmark in eSports for receiving annual championships. This is the case for both the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice and ESL One, which take place in Poland and Cologne, Germany, respectively. Other places are also famous for revealing teams and pro players champions. Keep reading to find out which cities are true references in the eSports industry.
Located in southern Poland, Katowice is a city known for hosting one of the largest eSports events in the world, the ESL Intel Extreme Masters. The city made its IEM debut during its eighth season in 2012, hosting the Global Challenge Katowice. This edition featured competitions in League of Legends and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. The event took place at the Spodek Arena and, thanks to its success, the city became the official stage of the season finale in the following years.
Although IEM Katowice did not promote Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitions in its first editions, it was with the FPS that the city became an absolute benchmark in eSports, culminating in the Spodek Arena being the stage of the first Major of CS: GO in 2019, with a prize of $1 million.
Seoul, South Korea
South Korea is a country known worldwide for its appreciation of eSports. The South Korean government itself invests in a specific department, the Korea e-Sports Association (KeSPA), for this segment. Owing to this investment, and because of the South Korean culture’s mentality of winning, the country’s players stand out in various games such as League of Legends, StarCraft II, and the Tekken franchise.
The capital of the country, Seoul, is expected to host several major sports events. In addition to StarCraft II world tournaments, the city hosted the grand finale of the 2014 World of LoL (won by the home team, Samsung White), and the 2016 World Cup Entry Phase.
Cologne, like Katowice, has hosted many editions of the Intel Extreme Masters. The German city hosted the tournament for the first time in IEM’s fifth season, at the 2011 Global Challenge Cologne. The tournament featured StarCraft II and Quake Live competitions and remained on the calendar until 2015 when it hosted a unique League of Legends competition.
Despite these events, the highlight of the city goes to CS: GO with ESL One: Cologne. The tournament started in 2014 with the intention of being, according to the ESL, one of the biggest eSports events in the world. Always occurring at LANXESS arena, ESL One: Cologne had Major status until 2016. The competition still takes place today and is one of the most traditional events of the CS: GO competitive scene.
Los Angeles, United States
The second most populous city in the United States, Los Angeles, has not become a benchmark in eSports simply by chance. After all, the city hosted the finals of World of LoL three times. In all editions, the tournament managed to completely fill the arenas with fans of League of Legends.