IEM Katowice: what it takes to run a world-leading e-sports tournament | Gaming | Entertainment

E-sports has massively grown in popular culture. Football is being replaced by EA FC and stadiums are being filled up to the brim with fans who want to watch their favourite players or teams win the biggest and best prizes.

One of the biggest CounterStrike 2 tournaments in the world takes place at the Spodek Area in Katowice, Poland called the Intel Extreme Masters where some of the biggest and the best teams from around the world compete for a prize pool of $1million – and it takes place every single year.

Not only is it a esports tournament but its also a gaming expo where some of the biggest companies show off the latest hardware to the masses. Organising the tournament is no easy task and it requires around-the-clock planning and coordination.

So what does it take to organise something a sold out three-day event like this on such a scale and what does it look like in terms of numbers?

In terms of manpower, it takes 4500 people to run the event including staff, security, catering, production and more. To run such an event is a mammoth task and as EFG’s VP of Product Development Michal Blicharz says it’s a “around the clock” task which is surpisingly complex

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Express, Michal added: “This event, logistically is one of our most sophisticated ones. It’s tremendously complicated logistically.

“If you think of running a football match and you turn on the floodlights and open the gates, open the dressing rooms a little bit and you have a Champions League semi-final”.

That’s different when it comes to an esports tournament as you have to ensure that screens and speakers are aligned in specific ways that doesn’t damage the competitive integrity of the game.

Equipment used in the games are also custom-made as well as a massive inner and outer team production line which consists of 100s of people, miles of equipment and tons and tons of cable.

Michal also says that the complexity of running a tournament like IEM Katowice doesn’t compare to your average entertainment events.

“We have elements of football then we have what Taylor Swift would have with LED lights and the stage and on top of that we have serious network solutions because we play on a network which connects to the internet at some point.

“We’re like a Liverpool football game, a Taylor Swift concert and then some”.

On top of the massive manpower and production logistics that take place, you also have external companies that bring in their own equipment, food, coaches and more.

Monster Energy, one of the partnerts of IEM Katowice, says it shipped in around 30,000 cans just to satisfy gamers, fans and players throughout the three-day event.

For many people outside of the esports system, it may seem a lot for videogames but shows just how big this industry is getting and how its becoming a much bigger part of gaming culture. 

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