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7 Biggest CS:GO Tournaments in 2023

by eZstah

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Counter-Strike is one of the most popular competitive esports in the world, which has proven consistent for about 20 years. Since 2016, the competitive stage has paid more than $16 million annually in prize money, with the most fruitful years reaching $23+ million.

With hundreds of tournaments of different caliber yearly, CS:GO really became the opportunity to earn money. Interestingly, the top 7 biggest CS:GO tournaments in 2023 will have almost seven million dollars in prize money, roughly one-third of the overall annual budget. They all have a rich history, crucial prize funds, and great LAN organization, while the best teams build their schedule not to miss those events.

There are also popular and status events like IEM Dallas/Rio/Sydney ($250 thousand each) or a series of BLAST Spring and Fall events worth 150k+ each. Nothing to say about some other S-Tier events that pay from 100k up to 1 million dollars but don’t have enough history and traditions to be considered elite right now.

Organizers like Dreamhack, PGL, and ELEAGUE (all organized CS:GO Majors in the past) continue their fight for the best competitions and the ability to invite top teams. Even those who title their events after sponsors and don’t offer crazy prize pools are pushing the scene and can claim the status of the best CS:GO championships.

With so many events, watching everything is close to impossible. Therefore, we've narrowed the list to the 7 most important and entertaining championships in the CS:GO world. Read on, and find 2023 tournaments every CS:GO fan should watch.

IEM Katowice 2023

  • Dates: February 4th to 12th
  • Prize Fund: $1M ($400k for a winner)
  • Winner: G2 esports

Traditionally to Counter-Strike, IEM Katowice is one of the most significant CS:GO tournaments that opens a competitive year. Many say that BLAST Spring Groups deserve this status, but true fans know which is a Warm-Up and which is the Big Boss.

In 2023, the Polish city of Katowice saw another master class from G2 esports. None of the top teams couldn’t cope with the hunger of brothers Kovaces (NiKo’ and ‘huNter’), while ‘m0NESY,’ ‘HooXi,’ and ‘jks’ also did a perfect job.

Alongside a crucial $400k prize, G2 also got a legendary trophy, which looks like the football Champions League Cup. A stylish Spodek arena hosted three CS:GO Majors — in 2013, 2014, and 2019. If you want to dive deeper into the atmosphere of the recent event, spend 10 minutes on the mesmerizing after-movie.

ESL Pro League Season 17

  • Dates: February 22nd to March 26th
  • Prize Fund: $850k ($200k for a winner)
  • Winner: Faze

Although the league format isn’t working in esports as well as in other sports, ESL Pro League is a real brand name in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The 17th edition was traditionally for the latest years played in Malta, after the first 15 seasons were touring via Europe or North American cities. It was played for over a month, with teams fighting for the $850k prize and spot for BLAST World Finals 2023.

Of course, all the attention was on Faze, which won both the 17th season and added an extra 1 million dollars to their pockets after winning the Intel Grand Slam 4th season. The latter comes after winning the four largest CS:GO competitions during the year, and Pro League is one of them. That is why the celebrating moments in the official after-movie also include golden bars for winners.

BLAST.tv Paris Major 2023

  • Dates: May 13th to 21st
  • Prize Fund: $1.25M ($500k for a winner)
  • Winner: Team Vitality

No reason to doubt that the BLAST event in Paris became one of the best CS:GO Major championships in 2023. The organization and production made by BLAST are the things to follow, even for other authoritative esports organizers.

The announcement of CS2 shook the Pro scene, especially after they knew that the event in Paris would be the last Major in CS:GO history. Majors were always the most viewed and expected championships of the year, gathering millions of viewers and considerable prize funds (maximum of 2 million in Stockholm in 2021). No surprise that BLAST.tv Paris Major offered the biggest check in 2023 — 1.25 million dollars.

The upcoming end of the Global Offensive era put many teams to the edge — now or never. It sounded a bit unfair for the ones who deserved the cup, like ‘NiKo’ or ‘cadiaN,’ with the latter becoming one of the main faces in the event’s storyline movie.

However, the story with home soil repeated, just like during the Boston Major in 2018, where the local crowd helped the Americans from Cloud9 to celebrate the victory. France gave enough energy to Team Vitality and ‘ZywOo,’ who joined the list of players with the best CS:GO prizes on the shelf. However, don’t forget about the now unbeatable record of ‘dupreeh’ — the only player with 5 Major wins in CS:GO (four of which were with Astralis, however).

IEM Cologne 2023

  • Dates: July 29th to August 6th
  • Prize Fund: $1M ($400k for a winner)
  • Winner: G2 Esports

Being traditionally on the equator of the competitive year, IEM Cologne can be compared to IEM Katowice's importance for Counter-Strike. LANXESS Arena, or as it is called the ‘Cathedral’ in the community, also hosted three Majors (in 2014, 2015, and 2016). The Cologne trophy is another piece of art that looks pretty solid in any collection.

Considering the list of the largest CS:GO events in 2023, IEM Cologne takes a near-top place with a million-dollar purse and $400k for a winner. In 2023, G2 Esports made an IEM double, winning both Katowice and Cologne trophies and regaining their authority at the top level after a spring drought.

Gamers8 2023

  • Dates: August 16th to 20th
  • Prize Fund: $1M ($400k for a winner)
  • Winner: To be decided

It will be the first time in the history of Gamers8 to hold the CS:GO tournament. Because of this, maybe it's the most doubtful place in this rating of the biggest CS:GO championships in 2023, so let’s briefly explain the logic.

While it’s pretty disappointing to cope with the money factor being the cornerstone of Gamers8 2023, it gives hope that it’s only the beginning. CS:GO received a solid one million prize fund, with the overall budget of the esports festival in Saudi Arabia of a crazy $45 million, and it took almost all of the summer esports calendar.

In 2023, the 15 kg trophy went to Team Vitality, who passed the single-elimination bracket beating the teams like NAVI, G2 Esports, and Ence. The production and media coverage of the event was on the top level, but it should involve a wider fans' presence to be called an elite event in CS:GO schedule.

ESL Pro League Season 18

  • Dates: August 30th to October 1st
  • Prize Fund: $850k ($200k for a winner)
  • Winner: To be decided

With a short pause after the travel to the Middle East, competitive Counter-Strike will dive into the league format, lasting more than a month. ESL Pro League Season 18 will also be played in Malta, with teams sharing a massive $850k prize pool and a spot for BLAST Premier World Final 2023.

32 teams will be playing in four groups, each having an upper and lower bracket. Half of the teams will proceed to the playoffs and will start the final battle from different stages, depending on their place in the groups. Since it will be one of the last chances to win the spot for the BLAST Finals, $200k, and one of the biggest CS:GO events, the fight should be tough.

BLAST Premier World Final 2023

  • Dates: December 13th to 17th
  • Prize Fund: $1M
  • Winner: To be decided

Many can argue that BLAST events deserve more places in the list of the most important CS:GO tournaments. However, the specific qualifying system of the organizer slightly cuts the chances of many teams competing in the Spring and Fall events.

The situation with the World Final is a bit different — it’s really the crème de la crème of the competitive CS:GO, with only 8 participants. Thus, to qualify for this event, any team has to grab one of the BLAST Spring/Fall events, ESL Pro League (17th or 18th season), or celebrate a victory in the Major.

With three remaining spots classified by organizers via their separate ratings, some of the elite teams will surely miss the opportunity to grab the last million dollars in 2023. Of course, now the situation is logical as Heroic (#1), FaZe (#3), and Vitality (#2) made enough to book the tickets to Abu Dhabi, but the hottest contest still awaits all of us.

Summary

Choosing the biggest CS:GO tournament or list of the best events is quite a subjective thing. In our rating of the best CS:GO events in 2023, we relied on the following criteria:

  • prize money
  • participating teams
  • historical context (traditions)
  • qualifying aspects

If you want to see more, you can always check past and upcoming events on our website. Besides, with CS2 on the verge, there will be even more engaging tournaments in 2024 so stay tuned.

FAQ

What are the largest CS:GO matches in 2023?

There are top-7 CS:GO events that are worth special attention in 2023:

  • IEM Katowice
  • ESL Pro League S17
  • BLAST.tv Paris Major
  • IME Cologne
  • Gamers8
  • ELS Pro League S18
  • BLAST Premier World Final

What tournaments have already been held in 2023?

Tournaments that have already been held, and you can watch now are: IEM Katowice 2023 (G2 Esports), ESL Pro League Season 17 (FaZe), BLAST.tv Paris Major (Vitality), and IEM Cologne 2023 (G2 Esports).


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