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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s largest tournament returns with ESL One Cologne 2016

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The rise of Counter-Strike Global Offensive continues, somehow, to surprise me. I swear nobody gave a crap about it two or three years ago, and now I get more excited for its big tournaments than I do for everything outside of Evo and Blizzcon. Not just me: it reliably pulls the largest viewer numbers on Twitch outside of League of Legends’ massive finals, and breaks 200k for free every time. Now one of its biggest tournament is coming back for 2016, and will likely be as hype as ever.

By the time you can watch this, of course, all these upcoming games will be out.

The event is running from the 8th of July until the 10th, around a month after E3 and just a week before Evo, thankfully dodging everything else I’ll be wanting to do next year. They’re returning to the Lanxess Arena, which has a capacity of nearly 20,000 and made an excellent venue in 2015.

Tickets ranged from €39.90 for basic seating in the upper area all the way up to, er, €2999 for the “global elite package” designed for five people with specialised booths and unique benefits. I’d rather be down in the premium seating area that goes for €299 a pop, personally. They’ll go on sale at 5pm GMT / 6pm CET / midday EST tomorrow, Wednesday 9th December and if I know rabid e-sports fans, they’ll sell out quick.

More info on casting talent, participating teams and more will be released at a later date – though they have said that the prize pool sits at a cool $250,000. Good money for blowing up the same seven maps fifty times, to be honest.

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