ESL announces US$100,000 Winner-Takes-All Intel® Extreme Masters StarCraft® II World Championship

US$100,000 cash prize for the best StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm® player - Poland’s 11,500 capacity Spodek Arena to host IEM World Championship - Quest for world’s best StarCraft II professional gamer

Cologne, 27 January 2014 - The ESL, the global leader in competitive gaming, announced today that the $100,000 Intel Extreme Masters World Championship in StarCraft® II: Heart of the Swarm® by Blizzard Entertainment will be a winner takes all tournament. This competition format is unprecedented for an event of this caliber and the $100,000 for the winner will be the largest cash prize given to a single player in the history of the ESL.

The event, scheduled to take place on March 13-16, 2014 in Katowice, Poland, will be the conclusion of the 8th season of the Intel Extreme Masters, the elite global pro gaming tour.  Sixteen of the world’s best StarCraft II players determined through competition in Shanghai, New York City, Singapore, Sao Paulo, and Cologne will be invited for an all expenses paid trip to compete in a single elimination bracket.

“Every season the IEM was one of the hardest tournaments to win all year. In 2014 we would like to take it to a new level of extreme. True champions are born when they express their talent in the most extreme situations,” said Michal Blicharz, Managing Director of Pro Gaming at ESL. “We wanted to create the most high-pressure tournament this audience has ever seen.”

With two events still to be played in the Intel Extreme Masters season, the players that have qualified to compete for the $100,000 so far are:

  • Kim “Revival” Dong Hyun (winner IEM Shanghai)
  • Kim “Oz” Hak Soo (runner up IEM Shanghai)
  • Lee “Life” Seung Hyun (winner IEM New York City)
  • Johan “naniwa” Lucchesi (runner up IEM New York City)
  • Kim “herO” Joon Ho (winner IEM Singapore)
  • Kang “san” Cho Won (runner up IEM Singapore)
The remaining tournaments of the season will take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil on January 29 to February 1 and Cologne, Germany on February 13-16. The top two players from each of those events will also qualify for the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship. The remaining six slots will be awarded via invitations and open qualifiers.

The Intel Extreme Masters World Championship will take place in Spodek, a 11,500 capacity indoor arena typically used for sports events and music concerts in Katowice, Poland. 50,000 eSports fans are expected to visit the venue over the weekend to experience eSports at the highest level and have a hands on experience with the latest gaming technology at exhibits of companies like Intel, Kingston HyperX and BenQ. The event will be the 50th Intel Extreme Masters event.  Until today the circuit has given out over US$3,500,000 in prize money.

For more information on both previous and upcoming tournaments, please visit the tournament's official webpage: http://intelextrememasters.com/ 

Electronic Sports League -Turtle Entertainment is the world's largest eSports company leading the industry in raising eSport production and audience levels to those of mainstream sports. With offices in Germany, Russia, France, Poland, Italy, Russia, China and the USA, it has a true global footprint. Aided by two daughter companies in the form of ESL.TV and ESL.Tech Turtle Entertainment creates products that cover the entire eSports spectrum. This includes high profile international and national leagues and tournaments such as the Intel Extreme Masters, ESL Major Series, ESL Pro Series, Starcraft II World Championship Series, Wargaming.net League Europe as well as grassroots amateur cups, leagues and matchmaking systems. From its 6 state of the art event and production studios with a total of 1.000 m² it runs daily broadcasts of a multitude of leagues and games, while its mobile production team hosts massive offline tournaments in large stadiums and trade fairs around the world. With nearly 1 million attendees in its last Intel Extreme Masters season and tens of millions more watching over streams and video at home it has been increasingly successful in its ambition to deliver amazing gaming experiences and to convey the thrill, emotions and excitement of competing and performing at the highest level and to the worlds audience.

Intel Extreme Masters - Intel® Extreme Masters is the ESL's elite global pro gaming tour since 2006 with over 3,5 million USD given out in prize money in seven seasons. StarCraft II and League of Legends superstars from Europe, Asia and America compete at the world's largest technological trade shows for their share of a lucrative prize purse. ESL TV, ESL's web-TV service, presents the best games of the season live and reports directly from the offline events via Twitch TV, reaching over 20 million unique viewers each season. Intel Extreme Masters sponsors include Intel, BenQ, Kingston (HyperX) and RaidCall. Further information available at:www.intelextrememasters.com 

Intel Corporation - Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) is a world leader in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world’s computing devices. Additional information about Intel is available at newsroom.intel.com and blogs.intel.com

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. - Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft® and the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry's most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes sixteen #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company's online-gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players.