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ESL Gaming Reveal Live Event Plans for 2021

Craig Robinson

ESL Gaming, the merged company between ESL and DreamHack has announced their approach to LAN events in 2021. The event organizer plans to host in-person events for competitors to get back to that LAN feeling, with live audiences hopefully planned for events later in the year.

ESL Gaming 2021

ESL Gaming plans to return to LAN events, with hopes for live audiences for November. (Photo courtesy ESL Gaming)

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague esports, resulting in the lack of LAN events through 2020. 2021 Is not so different, with many esports events staying online. However, ESL Gaming wishes to change this to deliver better CS:GO, Dota 2 events and more. Hopefully, ESL One Cologne’s will remain open at the LANXESS arena, presuming the global situation remains healthy in the Summer. Furthermore, the ESL Pro League may return to Malta as a LAN event but will remain an online tournament for now.

Unfortunately, some of ESL Gaming’s flagship events are remaining online. The 2021 edition of the IEM Katowice event is one of these, as the current winter period has too many global cases to warrant international travel.

ESL 2021

ESL’s plan is ambitious but hopes to host an audience by July. (Photo courtesy ESL Gaming)

ESL Gaming plans on changing the dates of IEM Fall, as it lines up with the very recently announced PGL Major. The IEM Fall Event will occur on a different date; stay tuned for more information on that. For other esports, event dates can be found here.

There will be strict LAN rules for players who can attend LAN events to adhere to keep the events safe for all players and staff on-site. The rules are:

  •         Testing and other measures before arrival at the event
  •         Travel and arrival at the accommodation
  •         Creation of a controlled environment among participants, staff and others
  •         Ongoing COVID-19 testing procedures during the stay
  •         Prepared actions in case of positive tests
  •         Prepared measures to ensure that players can return home safely

Last year, ESL Gaming intended to work with the local government and CSPPA to help set up the IEM Global Final as a safe lan event before the circumstances changed and it went online. Setting up safe procedures is crucial to making LAN events work in the COVID-19 pandemic.

This will be very important, especially for ESL Gaming’s live audience ambition for November 2021. Whether live audience events can go ahead remains to be seen.