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Gamers are taking over Germany’s largest indoor arena this August.

The world of competitive e-sports is growing rapidly, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive continues to represent the first-person genre in some style. CS:GO players from 16 teams will battle it out for a $250,000 prize fund from Aug. 22-Aug. 23 in Cologne’s 15,000-seater Lanxess Arena — usually home to ice hockey giants, Kölner Haie. It’s further proof that competitive gaming can pull in a big crowd and ammunition for exponents of its value as an actual sport.

The ESL One Cologne tournament, hosted by the Electronic Sports League and Lanxess Arena, is billed as the world’s largest CG:GO tournament. “ESL One Cologne is going to be the largest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event in the world,” said Ulrich Schulze, managing director of pro gaming at ESL, in a statement. “Taking place in the biggest indoor arena in Germany, we’re sure it’ll be a massive hit for fans from all over.”

“We’re very excited to be the first German arena to host an event of this kind,” said Stefan Löcher, chief executive officer of Arena Management GmbH, “and are convinced that Cologne, as both a tourist destination and as a technology capital, is perfectly suited.”

While the prize fund doesn’t come close to the $10 million raised by fans of the multiplayer online battle arena game Dota 2 for last year’s International, this is the fourth $250,000 CS:GO tournament in the space of two years. The ESL is also providing the prize fund directly, which Schulze notes shows its commitment to CS:GO’s e-sports continuing development.

The ESL will release further information on the tournament structure and the qualification process at a later date.


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