The Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) event in Katowice, Poland from March 4 to 6 features the World Championship for the IEM season in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, StarCraft 2, and League of Legends. This is the third year in a row IEM is heading to Poland for what’s become one of the biggest events on the esports calendar despite what is now a relatively small $500,000 prize pool. That’s thanks largely to the wild growth of Counter-Strike.
But fans hoping to buy tickets to give them early entrance to the event and a chance at nabbing a prime seat to catch teams like Fnatic, Virtus.Pro, and Ninjas in Pyjamas play Counter-Strike, or to watch Origen, Counter Logic Gaming, Qiao Gu Reapers, and SK Telecom T1 play League of Legends are out of luck.
For fans familiar with the ticket process for big-name concerts, this is nothing new. Tickets sell out instantly, even when limited to 3 per buyer, for popular events with a history of filling the stadium. Resellers likely use bots to pick up tickets as fast as possible, while fans wait for the sale time with anticipation and a ready finger on their phone, or even show up at the place in person.
For the IEM event, selling out is even stranger because you don’t even need a ticket to attend the event—buying a pass only gets you access to the Spodek Arena two hours earlier than those coming for free general admission, giving you a chance to find a comfy seat to catch all the action. In some ways that makes the rush more surprising, considering you don’t even need to spend to experience all the esports action. But if you take a look at the line from last year’s event, it’s a little easier to understand.
If you still want a ticket, they’re already posted on reseller sites for nearly twice the list price. Allegro has some up for 300 złoty, or approximately $78, nearly twice the list price of the tickets, while viagogo is selling day passes at $30 to $50, with a 3-day pass at $86.90. Plus the primary retailer, Ticketpro, still has premium passes, which provide early access and a guaranteed seat in a sectioned off seating area, available for around $120.