Intel Extreme Masters to head to Melbourne Esports Open
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This year’s Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) won’t be heading to its usual home in Sydney. Instead, for 2020, it will make a journey to Melbourne! After many successful IEM Sydney editions, ESL is bringing the IEM Australian Masters stop to the Melbourne Esports Open (MEO).

IEM Melbourne 2020

ESL announced today that IEM Melbourne will be the headline event for the 2020 Melbourne Esports Open. IEM is the longest-running global professional esports tournament circuit in the world. It features a prize pool of $250,000 USD.

MEO is still in its infancy, having run only just two years, in 2019 and 2018. However, in that short time, MEO has established itself as a cornerstone for Australian Esports. The weekend-long festival has featured many pro competitions over its two years. This year, though, will be the first time MEO will host a global tournament. It’s also a first for the Victorian State.

IEM Melbourne 2020 will take over Rod Laver Arena and serve as the Australian Masters stop on the ESL Pro Tour. The whole tournament, which connects the ESL and Dreamhack competitions, has a combined prize pool of over $5 million USD. All teams in the competition can win an additional $1 million USD as part of the Intel Grand Slam. They just need to be the first team to win four or more of the previous ESL and DreamHack Masters-level events inside a span of ten events. Each team certainly has their work cut out for them!

Melbourne, a home for esports

August 2020 will mark the fourth Intel Extreme Masters in Australia. While IEM is a first for Melbourne, the city has hosted many successful gaming competitions and festivals in the past. It’s probably most well known for PAX Australia. There’s also the Fortnite Summer Smash and League of Origin. Not to mention the Southern Hemisphere’s largest esports arena is about to open – Fortress Melbourne. With all this ‘good stuff’ happening in Melbourne, it’s easy to see why this city has been dubbed “the esports capital of Australia.”

Summer Smash
Fortnite Summer Smash 2020, held in Melbourne, was a huge success. Image: Tennis Australia.

But at the end of the day, a win for Melbourne is a win for Australia. Besides, it seems like Aussie fans certainly have a reputation when it comes to live events.

Aussie fans

One of the reasons IEM continues to come back to Australia is the fans. You’ll often hear players and attendees alike talk about the vibrant Australian culture and super hyped crowds. If you’ve been lucky enough to attend an event in Australia, you can’t help but get swept up in the excitement – people singing, chants raising around the arena, people doing shoeys (and if you don’t know what a shoey is, then you need to look it up)!

But don’t take our word for it. The Vice President of Pro Gaming at ESL stated it was the fans in Australia you can’t beat. Michal “CARMAC” Blicharz said in their press release that coming back to Australia for 2020 was a must:

Australian Counter-Strike fans are second to none, and when we had the opportunity to bring IEM to Melbourne, to headline the Melbourne Esports Open, it was a perfect fit. Australians have always generated atmospheres that could not be matched by anything else. Coming back for 2020 was a top priority, and the Melbourne Esports Open was a natural match. It will open Intel Extreme Masters to a broader audience and provide CS:GO fans a richer event experience.

Still one of the most-watched videos on ESL’s CSGO channel of a marriage proposal, which happened at IEM Sydney in May last year. This is just the sort of thing Aussies get up to!

MEO 2020

Fans aren’t just coming to Melbourne for the IEM CSGO action. They’ll also come to meet pro players, participate in giveaways, and heaps more. If 2019 was anything to go by, you can expect big things. In the past, there have been plenty of new games to try out, and 2019 even featured a giant inflatable obstacle course.

With everything going on, it seems like IEM and MEO are the perfect fit. Santhosh Viswanathan, the Intel Managing Director Sales and Marketing Group for Asia Pacific and Japan Territory, echoed these thoughts in their press release:

We’re excited for IEM to headline the Melbourne Esports Open. By bringing these two events together, we’re taking what was already Australia’s biggest esports weekend in IEM and making it an even bigger spectacle for fans. We’re also looking forward to showcasing Intel’s gaming ecosystem of products that top esports leagues use to deliver a world-class experience to gamers as well as the gaming community.

So mark your calendars and book your flights! It’s going to be an awesome ride. Intel Extreme Masters and Melbourne Esports Open will be held the weekend of Aug. 22-23 this year. The festival will be held in the same location as the previous MEO events: Melbourne Park and Olympic Park. Tickets will go on sale this Friday, at 10:00 a.m. AEDT. Prices start from just $25 AUD.

If you’re not planning on coming to Australia, you will have plenty of opportunities to follow all the action at home. Keep an eye out here at Daily Esports and on the IEM website for more details.

Michelle is a Content Producer in the realms of innovation and technology. Known as the “Hackathon Queen” 👑 you'll often find her on stage MC’ing or speaking on a range of topics from artificial intelligence, to business, community engagement, the future of work, and esports. With a background in both science and arts, Michelle writes extensively on a range of topics including innovation, startups, corporate culture, esports, business development, and more. She has a passion for gaming and combines this with her experience in a range of industries. Michelle brings a unique insight into esports innovation and draws many parallels between the physical world of sport, and the digital world of esports.