It looks like Valve has selected ESL to host the first Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major of 2019 and IEM Katowice seems to be the most likely choice.
The Valve sponsored CS:GO Majors are the most prestigious events on the Counter-Strike esports circuit and tournament organizers usually have to bid for their chance to host one.
The first seven majors were hosted by DreamHack or ESL but the likes of ELEAGUE, MLG, PGL, and FACEIT have all been given the chance to run one since the million dollar major era began.
In fact, ESL has hosted just one $1,000,000 Major at ESL One: Cologne 2016 and DreamHack hasn’t had a look in since the last $250,000 Major at DreamHack Cluj-Napoca 2015.
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Now it looks like Valve is going to give ESL the chance to get back in the game as a new report from Jarek ‘DeKay’ Lewis at DBLTAP claims that multiple sources have revealed that the German company has been awarded the first Major of 2019.
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It also looks like IEM Katowice could be the most likely candidate for the tournament, though nothing has been confirmed:
“the Major is intended to begin in February and possibly extend into March, according to multiple sources. A few sources have named Katowice as a likely location for the Major — though that has not been confirmed — because the aforementioned time frame falls in line with ESL’s annual IEM Katowice event,”
IEM Katowice is one of the biggest events in CS:GO and, along with the likes of ESL One: Cologne, is one of only a handful of tournaments that holds similar weight to a Major even when it isn’t one.
IEM Katowice would also make sense as it is one of the few competitions that are not subject to ESL’s new Facebook live streaming exclusivity deal that affects the likes of the ESL Pro League and ESL One events.
Valve sponsored Majors have to be streamed on Twitch, so other popular events like ESL One: Cologne would, presumably, be difficult to organize.
ESL has hosted two previous Majors in Katowice, in 2014 and 2015, and the crowd at the Spodek arena is often referred to as one of the best in esports.