The playoffs of the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, a major annual e-sports tournament in Poland, will continue without an audience. The Polish local government has decided this in response to concerns about coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
The ESL reports that it was informed on Thursday evening from the Polish governor of Silesia that the IEM Katowice 2020 has to close its doors to the public due to “the dynamic changes in the global health situation”. “We respect the decision of the local authorities. Your health and well-being are more important than anything else,” the ESL writes.
The organizer calls on interested parties who already have a ticket for the event not to come to the event location on Friday and during the weekend. They can get their money back. Exactly how this will be done will be posted on the IEM Katowice website in the coming days.
The preliminary rounds of the tournament have already started in January. The group matches have now been completed and the finals, including the public, would take place on Friday and at the weekend in Katowice, Poland, in the Spodek Arena. As always, the matches are still broadcast via the well-known channels, such as Twitch. This year, esports organizations are participating in the tournaments around two games: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Starcraft II.
IEM Katowice isn’t the only esports event where concerns over the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the associated disease Covid-19 are leading to cancellations, rescheduling or audience barring. For example, the announcement of the timing and location of a major annual League of Legends tournament, the Mid Season Invitational, is being announced postponed. The upcoming Korean LCK matches of Riot Games’ own League of Legends competition will also be played without an audience. The Overwatch League’s Chinese Matches for February and March Have Been Previously Brought by Blizzard deleted and a number of Korean competitions are now also canceled.
The Spodek arena during last year’s edition of IEM Katowice.