ESL confirms IEM Cologne will return to LAN

LANs are back. Bless.

Photo via ESL

It’s been a long time, but LAN events are finally returning to CS:GO esports.

The upcoming IEM Cologne event will be hosted on LAN in Cologne, Germany beginning on July 6, ESL announced today.

This will be the first offline CS:GO event held since the scene shifted to online-only tournaments at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. The last LAN event to be held offline was another ESL event, IEM Katowice, which infamously had to continue its playoffs without a crowd after the local government prohibited live crowds due to COVID. Natus Vincere ended up hoisting the trophy in an empty arena after a 3-0 sweep over G2 Esports in the grand finals.

Like Katowice 2020, the upcoming IEM Cologne event will be hosted in a studio environment without a crowd but will still feature 24 teams from around the world competing for $1 million in “the Cathedral of Counter-Strike.” Fans who purchased tickets for either last year or this year’s Cologne event can use those tickets for Cologne 2022. Fans can also request a refund until the end of 2021.

IEM Cologne will be a massive stop on the road to the PGL Stockholm Major in October, which is tentatively still planned, although the organizers are considering alternatives following the news that Valve might be moving Dota 2’s TI10 out of Stockholm.

IEM Cologne will begin with a play-in stage starting on July 6 and the full list of invited play-in teams has already been revealed.