Katowice is a city in southern Poland. Once it was known as a mining town. Today, that arena is best known as the home of Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice, one of the most respected Counter-Strike tournaments in the world. Every year, teams fly in from North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe to compete for esports recognition and a $1 million prize pool.
For someone external Katowice, it is honestly confusing to be in a slight Polish municipality, with a population of 294,000, surrounded by twentysomethings and teenagers who ate a layover in Frankfurt in order to watch the action live.
The city is all gray skies and towering tenements, but for a few weeks in February, it’s also the Counter-Strike investment. This year’s tournament paid attention to 174,000 visitors. The little mining town has joined its wagon to esports, in the hopes that it can convert its center of industry.