ESL Gaming, the world’s largest esports company, has today unveiled an overview of its 2021 planning direction for esports tournaments and DreamHack festivals, providing a full list of dates. Included is DreamHack’s first live, in-person festival since the pandemic began. This event will take place in the U.S. at DreamHack Atlanta in November 2021 — its last in-person event was DreamHack Anaheim in February 2020.

The direction for 2021 sees the majority of ESL and DreamHack esports competitions scheduled to be played in a studio setting without a live audience in 2021. ESL One Cologne powered by Intel® remains planned as an in-person competition with an audience in July 2021, pending local regulation and guidelines, with more live-audience competitions and in-person DreamHack festivals following in late 2021. The decision whether ESL One Cologne will remain an in-person tournament will be reevaluated closer to the competition start date.

The 2021 calendar will be dependent on the latest health guidance in light of the ongoing global pandemic, with ESL Gaming’s top priority being the safety and well-being of all personnel, players and attendees involved. When in-person competitions return, ESL Gaming will follow a “Return to LAN” protocol developed in close collaboration with teams and players to minimize their exposure to COVID-19 related risks as much as possible. ESL Gaming will share additional updates and plans following the first quarter of 2021.


Despite moving away from tournaments and festivals in front of live audiences on-site, ESL Gaming is looking towards a packed year of esports action in 2021, across multiple game titles, for fans to enjoy. While ESL Gaming swiftly turned its 2020 competitions into online formats, viewership surpassed projections and broke multiple records across several products — plans for 2021 include even bigger and better productions for all competitions.

Ulrich Schulze, SVP Product Management at ESL Gaming, said: “Like many other industries, we have had to react and change our plans so that we can ensure the safety of our community while still delivering the same world-class action. 2021 will look different as we continue to follow the latest health guidance relating to the pandemic, but we are also excited at what prospects are on offer with this calendar. We are committed to returning players to a LAN environment and are currently aiming to have fans back in their seats for ESL One Cologne. Of course this is dependent on the very latest guidance and we will release further information relating to the status of all tournaments in due course.”

CS:GO will kick off with the DreamHack Open in January, and will run through a packed schedule of EPT Masters and EPT Challenger dates throughout the year. The Dota2 calendar will also be packed with tournaments across multiple levels, while the StarCraft® II circuit tour will kick off with DreamHack StarCraft® II Masters in May 2021, and conclude at IEM Katowice in February 2022 where players will be playing for the world champion title and a grand prize of $500,000. The Warcraft® III circuit will start with DreamHack Warcraft® III Open in May 2021, and culminate with DreamHack Warcraft® III Championship in December.

Going into 2021, fans around the world will continue to be guaranteed a high-quality viewing experience of all ESL Pro Tour tournaments via exclusive streams on Twitch for English language.

For the full 2021 calendar and more information, visit Fans can look for updates on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.


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