ESL explains 5-day break in IEM Winter 2021 playoffs

The tournament operator ESL, represented by its SVP Product Ulrich Schulze, named the reason for the 5-day break between the quarterfinals and the semifinals of IEM Winter 2021. The ESL representative tweeted that the schedule was drawn up in advance, because the playoffs were originally planned to be held in the arena, which eventually turned out to be impossible. The pause was needed to generate some heat in the run-up to the decisive matches.

We originally split it this way to make sure the arena portion of each event was separated from the phase before: To make sure there was enough time to build up hype for those matches, but also to allow arena event visitors to know the matches more in advance than before. Now we obviously ended up not having any arena portion this year, so it was less obvious why we did it this way.

Schulze added that next year, ESL will maintain breaks between the group stage and the playoffs for its most prestigious tournaments.

In 2022, the Championship events (Katowice & Cologne) will continue to be run with a 4 day break before the 3 day finals. However, the US and China event will return to being played over one week only. With this, we believe the right balance is achieved - when $1,000,000 is at stake, teams and fans have time to prepare for the final playoff matches, and for $250,000 the winner is crowned within a week after the first match.

The IEM Winter 2021 quarterfinals took place on December 5 with Vitality and NIP taking down their opponents. The semifinals and the grand final will be held on December 11 and 12, respectively.