Due to fears about the COVID-19 Coronavirus, eSports company ESL have announced a last-minute audience restriction for their Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) event in Katowice, Poland. While the tournament itself will go ahead as planned, and will still be broadcast live, no on-site audience will be allowed. This is breaking news that reached us just this morning, despite the event being scheduled to start today.
The Polish State Sanitary Department revoked permission for an audience to gather in the 11,000-capacity Spodek Arena just yesterday. Although this is out of ESL’s hands, tickets will be refunded on request. This means that thanks to coronavirus, IEM katowice is effectively cancelled for the fans who travelled to be there in person. The full press release follows.
Restrictions regarding on-site audience for ESL event [IEM Katowice] in Poland due to covid-19 coronavirus
STOCKHOLM, February 28, 2020 — Modern Times Group MTG AB’s (MTG) esports portfolio companies ESL has been restricted to have on-site audience on its esport-event in Katowice, Poland. Polish authorities announced the decision on Thursday the 27th of February.
ESL is to hold the annual event IEM Katowice between the 28th of February and the 1st of March. On the 27th of February, the Polish State Sanitary Department decided to revoke the previously approved mass event license as a precautionary measure due to covid-19, also known as coronavirus. The tournament in Katowice will be conducted and broadcasted as planned, across digital and linear media channel with global reach, but without on-site audience at the Spodek-Arena and IEM Expo.
MTG and ESL fully respects the announcement from the Polish State Sanitary Department, as authorities in many nations at this time take precautious actions in order to secure public health. However, MTG and ESL regret the consequences for fans, teams and media coming to the venue. Tickets will be refunded on requested.
The decision from the Polish State Sanitary Department only affects on-site audience in the esport-event in Katowice. Upcoming esport-events in other countries will, as for now, be held as planned.