The venue and prize fund for the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship e-sports event has been named as Katowice in Poland, following a world-tour that takes in Shanghai, New York, Singapore and Sau Paulo.
The announcement confirms that the final of the World Championship will take place outside Germany's Hannover for the first time, following the success of an Intel Extreme Masters event in Katowice's Spodek sports stadium earlier this year which attracted 50,000 visitors and a claimed five million unique viewers via streaming video. According to its organisers, that makes it the most successful European e-sports event in history.
In its eighth year, the latest Intel Extreme Masters event will see players from around the world compete in League of Legends and StarCraft II for a share of a $250,000 prize fund. The event will tour the globe, taking in China, the US, Singapore and Brazil before finishing in Poland on the 14th to the 16th of March 2014.
The move outside Hanover for the final shows a growing acceptance of e-sports as a legitimate spectator event. 'We are proud to be hosting such a prestigious and globally influential gaming event like the Intel Extreme Masters in our city,
' claimed Piotr Uszok, president of Katowice, of the tournament. 'The event has become a part of our city’s strategy because gaming is a major part of youth culture today.
'I have been involved with this global tour for seven years now and in that time I had not seen anything like the event we had in Katowice,
' added Intel's George Woo, referring to last-year's mid-tour stop in the city. 'Poland is very passionate for gaming and Spodek is the perfect venue for what we are trying to achieve together.
The company has released a teaser trailer for the event, along with a tour schedule showing Shanghai in July, New York in October, Singapore in November, Sao Paulo in February and the final at Katowice in March. The first event in the World Championship will take place this Thursday, the 25th of July.