Despite the intention to hold ESL One: Cologne on LAN next month, ESL is now leaning toward holding the event online amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to multiple sources close to the situation.
Before the pandemic, ESL One: Cologne was set as a 24-team tournament featuring a $1 Million prize pool. It was one of the major components of the ESL Pro Tour and had most of the teams qualify via the Road to Cologne rankings. Astralis, Team Liquid, TyLoo, and Renegades are listed as the top teams from their respective regions for the tournament that will now likely take place online.
ESL One: Cologne was initially slated to take place July 6-12, but ESL in May announced new dates Aug. 21-30 and that the event would take place without an audience. HLTV reported in June that ESL was targeting a return to offline play with the event.
When reached for comment, ESL senior VP of product Ulrich Schulze said "We are still evaluating the situation, and having the event take place online is one of the options."
ESL has already held Season 11 of ESL Pro League entirely online. During ESL Pro League, the event was split between North America and European regions. Season 12 of ESL Pro League and the ESL One: Rio Major are both still officially listed as offline tournaments.