Today, ESL revealed its plans to increase the opportunities for local teams in the ANZ region to compete in Intel Extreme Masters Sydney.
For the first time ever, a local championship series will feed directly into the global IEM competition. The winner of the AU & NZ Counter Strike: Global Offensive Championship (dubbed the ‘Sydney Derby’) on April 18 will earn a spot to compete in the $250,000 tournament.
That is just one of the spots up for grabs. The second spot is reserved for the ANZ teams that will go through the Oceanic Qualifiers taking place on April 14. The region has long cried out for more representation on the global stage, and this is their chance to shine.
Last year, we saw the rise of Grayhounds and Oliver “DickStacy” Tierney through the qualifying event. DickStacy is excited to see the event returning with an extra shot for local teams.
“Not being jet-lagged is bloody fantastic,” DickStacy said. “IEM Sydney is a one of a kind event for Australia. We’re looking forward to versing the big boys again on home soil.”
The two ANZ teams will join the overall pool of 16 who will face each other at Qudos Bank Arena from May 3 to 5. Speaking on the growth of the ANZ region, Nick Vanzetti, the senior vice president of ESL Asia-Pacific Japan, is pleased to offer the opportunity.
“The Australian esports scene continues to show amazing potential and growth, and the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive community are being given a great opportunity as part of that,” said Vanzetti.
Teams in the ANZ region have been consistently performing on the global stage. Last year, the region had a few stand-out performances, something ANZ teams hope to build on for this year.
It won’t just be Grayhound Gaming who will be vying for that qualifying spot, however. Chris “emagine” Rowland from ORDER is ready to take on the challenge.
“We’ve been working hard to ensure that we perform to our standards for IEM, after some close losses at the event last year,” said emagine. “The Oceanic region is the strongest I’ve seen it—I’m certainly optimistic about seeing some deeper runs from us this year.”
You can catch the Oceanic qualifier events on April 14 via Twitch. The IEM ‘Sydney Derby’ as part of the ESL AU & NZ Championships will be played on the ESL Australia Twitch channel on April 18. Tickets for IEM Sydney are now on sale via Ticketek, with Global Elite packages already sold out. All tickets can be purchased with an early entrance option too, so if you want to get there early make sure you select that at the checkout.