Everything you need to know ahead of Intel® Extreme Masters Sydney 2023: The First Live Counter-Strike 2 Event!

Press Release Summary
  • Intel® Extreme Masters returns to Sydney, as 16 of the world’s best Counter-Strike teams face off on October 16 - 22 to battle it out for a share of the US$250,000 prize pool.
  • During the final three days, the top six teams will compete in front of a live crowd at the iconic Aware Super Theatre.
  • The winning team will cement their spot in esports history as the first Champions in Counter-Strike 2, and take a step forward in the race to secure Intel® Grand Slam V.
  • Amongst others, local heroes Grayhound.Rivalry and VERTEX Esports Club will be attending, fighting for the crown.
  • The competition will be streamed live from Sydney on ESL Counter-Strike Twitch and YouTube channels and via dedicated broadcast partners.

Friday, October 13, 2023, Sydney/Cologne/New York –  Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) returns down under to Sydney, Australia, on October 16 - 22 and will be the first ever live international tournament to be played on Counter-Strike (CS) 2. The final three days of the competition will be held in front of a live audience, as fans are invited to enter the Aware Super Theatre to witness history being made.

Here is all you need to know about IEM Sydney 2023

IEM Sydney 2023 will see 16 top Counter-Strike teams compete for a total prize pool of US$250,000, a win in the race to secure Intel® Grand Slam V, and a spot in the Group Stage of IEM Katowice 2024, the first ESL Pro Tour Championship event next year. Commencing October 16, contenders from around the globe will compete in Sydney with the six best teams facing off live in front of a packed-out audience at the Aware Super Theatre between October 20 - 22. 


Powered by Intel® and Acer, The Caches is a legendary fan-favourite showmatch that will be making its return to IEM Sydney for a 4th time. As a lead-in to the IEM Sydney Grand Final, Team Australia will battle it out against Team UK at 16:30 local time on Sunday, October 22, with Chad ‘SPUNJ’ Burchill and Henry ‘HenryG’ Greer returning to the stage and continuing their epic rivalry. 

Schedule and Format

Group Stage (October 16 - 18): 

  • Featuring 16 teams of which the top six advance to the Playoffs.
    • The Group Stage will be a double-elimination bracket.
      • Opening matches are best-of-one.
      • All following matches are best-of-three.
    • Group stage winners advance to the Semifinals.
    • The Group Stage runner-ups advance to the Quarterfinals as the High Seeds.
    • The Group Stage third-place teams advance to the Quarterfinals as the Low Seeds.

Playoffs (October 20 - 22):

  • Played in a single elimination format.
  • The Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Grand Final will all be best-of-three.

Teams Attending:

  • ENCE (ESL Partner Team)
  • FaZe Clan (ESL Partner Team)
  • G2 Esports (ESL Partner Team)
  • MOUZ (ESL Partner Team)
  • Natus Vincere (ESL Partner Team)
  • Team Vitality (ESL Partner Team)
  • Cloud9 (ESL World Ranking)
  • Fnatic (ESL World Ranking)
  • GamerLegion (ESL World Ranking)
  • Monte (ESL World Ranking)
  • Grayhound.Rivalry (Local Hero Invite)
  • Apeks (European Qualifier)
  • BetBoom Team (European Qualifier)
  • Complexity Gaming (North American Qualifier)
  • Lynn Vision Gaming (Asian Qualifier)
  • VERTEX Esports Club (Oceanic Qualifier) 


Prize Money (USD):











7th - 8th


9th - 12th




Broadcast Talent:

  • Tres "stunna" Saranthus (Desk Host)
  • Freya "Freya" Spiers (Desk Host)
  • Janko "YNk" Paunović (Analyst)
  • Sudhen "Bleh" Wahengbam (Analyst)
  • Aleksandar "kassad" Trifunović (Analyst)
  • Anastasija "Heccu" Tolmačeva (Sideline Reporter)
  • Alex "Machine" Richardson (Caster)
  • Chad "SPUNJ" Burchill (Caster)
  • James Bardolph (Caster)
  • Alex "Hawka" Hawkins (Caster)
  • Mitch "Conky" Concanen (Stage Host)
  • Jordan "Elfishguy" Mays (Caster)
  • Mitchell "pilski" Pilipowski (Caster)
  • Geordie "Mac" McAleer (Caster)
  • James "jimNeso" Cowan (Caster)

On-site Side Activities

Held in conjunction with IEM Sydney, the SXSW Sydney Innovation & Technology expo takes place on October 18 - 21, giving fans attending the event in person the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of on-site activities*:

  • At the Intel® Booth, fans are invited to try out the latest games and hardware, participate in activities, and get their idols’ signatures.
  • At the ESL Shop, attendees can pick up official esports merch, including exclusive drops, Kolex Cards, and their favourite team’s jersey. Local teams Vertex and Grayhound.Rivalry will also be stocked.
  • The Monster Energy Booth features a sampling bar where fans can grab their prefered flavor, meet Monster streamers, get a fresh haircut, and more.

Stay tuned as additional details and activities will be revealed.

Where to Watch

Fans tuning in online and watching the matches from around the globe can look forward to an exciting broadcast filled with extra content. 

The live broadcast will be available on the ESL Counter-Strike Twitch and YouTube channels. For those unable to tune in live, all matches will also be available to watch for free on-demand via YouTube.

Assets for IEM Sydney 2023 can be found in the press kit which is available here.

For more information about IEM Sydney 2023, and the latest updates, please visit the official website, and follow ESL Counter-Strike on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.




*Details of the mentioned activities are still subject to change.


About ESL

ESL creates a world where everybody can be somebody. For more than two decades, we have been shaping the industry and leading esports and gaming innovation globally across the most popular video games, creating a comprehensive ecosystem with opportunities for players to go from zero to hero and for fans to witness the best stories esports has to offer. The ESL portfolio consists of high-profile products such as the ESL Pro Tour, Intel® Extreme Masters, the Snapdragon Pro Series, and many more, ranging from grassroots to global elite competitions. ESL is part of ESL FACEIT Group, the leading esports and video game entertainment company.

About Intel® Extreme Masters

Intel® Extreme Masters is the longest-running global professional esports tournament circuit in the world. Started in 2006 by Intel® and ESL, the competition features the world’s best gamers in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, StarCraft® II, and other esport titles. Approaching two decades of history and many record-breaking events in terms of viewership and stadium attendance, IEM is widely considered one of the most prestigious and traditional esports tournaments in the world (www.intelextrememasters.com).