ESL One Cologne, the world's largest standalone Counter-Strike event, has once again been named an official Valve Major. This marks ESL's fifth Major to date out of an industry total of nine. The stadium event, hosted in Cologne, Germany's LANXESS arena (July 8-10) will host the playoffs of the US$1 million international esports tournament, with group stages to take place from July 5-7. Competition will feature sixteen of the world's best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams: eight "Legends" invited directly from the latest Major in Columbus and eight "Challengers" that have yet to be determined.
In order to decide the eight ESL One Cologne Challengers, the eight teams that did not make it into the quarter-finals of the Columbus Major will compete in June against the eight top-placing teams from Regional Minor Championships in the Asian, European, North American and CIS regions. Only the top eight will advance to ESL One Cologne to compete against the Legends for a chance at the title.
"Last year's ESL One Cologne was one for the history books. - We delivered by far the world's biggest and most-watched Counter-Strike event of all time, but more than anything I am proud to say that we delivered a fantastic event in of itself," said Ulrich Schulze, VP Pro Gaming at ESL. "There are always things we can improve on, and we're looking to take key learnings from last year to raise the bar even further in 2016 for what will hopefully be a truly legendary experience, both online and off."
ESL One Cologne 2016 competition will be streamed online through ESL's various streaming partners, as well as in-game through GOTV. Behind-the-scenes footage of players and personalities will once again be made available thanks to dedicated filming crews, this time in higher volume. Fans attending will be able to collect signatures from their favorite players, browse showcases with replica life-size weapon skins from CS:GO and get together with other CS:GO fans at the ESL One Camp.
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