- The largest ESL Pro Tour Masters Championship – Cologne will be played behind closed doors
- The event could be played in an online format and remotely, although ESL has yet to confirm this information
- More esports events have been disrupted, but viewership has been steadily climbing
ESL One Cologne will have to take place behind closed doors, the organization behind the event announced. This year’s ESL calendar has been reshuffled a fair bit due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The spread of the virus has paralyzed the ability to travel freely for what might be another year.
With no relief in sight, and some suggesting that the global traveling ban won’t be lifted until at least the end of August, many esports events have had to reconsider their in-person tournaments. ESL One Cologne, the largest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) held in Cologne, Berlin, was evidently no exception.
The ESL Pro Tour Masters Championship will now take place on August 21-30 with the organization yet undecided if they should bring players in person for a special in-house production or allow teams to play remotely. Details about the format and mode of play should become available closer to the event’s date.
Meanwhile, IEM Melbourne has also been disrupted, and the event won’t return in 2020. Instead, IEM Melbourne will take place on August 21-22, 2021. If players are unhappy with the new scheduling, they can either request a refund or just keep their tickets for next year’s editions of the events.
The new dates for ESL One Cologne 2021 have also been announced. The event will take place on July 16 -18. Tickets for Cologne 2020 still apply.
Esports Go Online and That’s Not a Bad Thing
The last ESL Pro Tour Masters Championship to be played in-person was IEM Katowice, which hosted the event in an empty arena, as anti-COVID-19 measures had just began rolling in at the time. The ESL Pro League Season 11 has shifted to online competitive play along with ESL One Road to Rio.
The global pandemic has not been all bad for esports, even though several high-profile events have already been cancelled. Live attendance has collapsed, affecting the business model of the Overwatch League (OWL) disproportionately – granted.
Yet, the shelter-in-place orders have helped heighten interest in electronic sports. Many traditional sports fans have given esports a glance, even if a cursory one. For example, Twitch viewership hours climbed up 66% in February.
Thumbnail image credit: ESL