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Published: June 20, 2023

Written by: Stefan Velikov


  • The event will be held in October and feature a quarter of a million prize pool
  • It will see 16 teams from around the world compete for the top spot
  • It will likely be the first IEM tournament played on Counter-Strike 2

Intel Maters Extreme Counter-Strike return to Australia after almost four years of absence with a tournament in Sydney this October.

IEM Reveal Sydney Event

With the imminent arrival of Counter-Strike 2 sometime in the coming few months, tournament organizers are preparing to host events on the new game. This includes the world-famous Intel Extreme Masters, which has recently announced the dates and prize money for the IEM Sydney, which could very well become one of CS2’s first big tournaments.

“When we were presented with a special opportunity to host IEM in Sydney again this year, we leaped at it,” said ESL FACEIT’s head of marketing and sales in Australia Graeme Du Toit. The event will mark the first time the IEM has conducted such a tournament in Australia since the last iteration back in the autumn of 2019. Following that, the Covid-19 pandemic played a large part in barring the conduct of other such tournaments. This has left the Australian crowd hungry for Counter-Strike content, but they would be happy to learn that the IEM Sydney will be held from October 16 to 22 in the eponymous city.

The returning tournament will be held in conjunction with the inaugural South by Southwest festival at the Aware Super Theatre at ICC Sydney. The theatre, an indoor center with a 9 000-spectator capacity at Darling Harbor, will host the top six teams on October 20 for the playoffs.

IEM Sydney will feature 16 teams from around the globe who will compete for a piece of the $250 000 prize pool. The event’s format will be identical to that of last month’s IEM Dallas. Most of the participants will be from Europe. Six ESL Partners teams and four ESL World Ranking ones will be invited directly to the event. The rest of the spots at the tournament will be filled by teams who win the European, American, Asian, and Oceanic qualifiers, which begin on August 9.

Shaun Clark, ESL FACEIT Group’s senior CS:GO game ecosystem director, also commented after the announcement of the tournament was made. “Australia has a special place in our hearts when it comes to Counter-Strike events—Melbourne has been an amazing host for our ESL Challenger competitions, and we definitely can’t wait to come to Sydney with another IEM event,” he said.

The event in Sydney will probably be the first IEM tournament to be held in CS2, despite there being an earlier IEM competition next month in Cologne, Germany. This is because Valve has not yet confirmed a date for when the game will launch, instead only saying it will be “this summer”. 

Whenever Counter-Strike 2 actually comes, the IEM Sydney promises to be a spectacular return of the circuit on Australian soil after more than three years of absence.

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