An expanded version of the Intel Extreme Masters is returning to Australia this May.

This year, across three days rather than two, 16 world-class Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams will compete live in Sydney at the Qudos Bank Arena for a record prize pool of USD$250,000 (AUD$310,000).

The competing teams will also be fighting for another point towards the Intel Grand Slam, which will reward US$1,000,000 to the first team that wins four of the last 10 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitions hosted by ESL and DreamHack.

Three teams already have one win, and SK Gaming is leading the challenge with two.

"What happened at last year’s Intel Extreme Masters Sydney event completely blew us away," said ESL Pro Gaming VP Michal Blicharz.

"The Australian esports audience was extremely engaged in the event and became a part of the show. That type of atmosphere is very rare. They left us no choice but to come back and do it again."

Australia's biggest esports event, the Intel Extreme Masters, returns in May

Last year, IEM Sydney drew crowds of more than 7000 esports fans each day, and nearly eight million watched the tournament online. It was the largest esports event ever held in Australia.

“Last year’s IEM Sydney event marked a watershed moment for the landscape of Australian esports, proving that this region has a huge appetite for the best esports content," said ESL Australia managing director Nick Vanzetti.

“Fans turned up in droves to experience the magic of the arena spectacle; the competition on stage was fierce and the crowd was electric. In Australia, the esports audience is growing exponentially year on year, and IEM Sydney 2018 hopes to raise the bar once again for fans and spectators the world over.”

The ESL is promising a wide range of side-events and attractions will be available at the Expo.

The Intel Extreme Masters runs in Sydney from May 4-6.