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- DreamHack and ESL revealed the new ESL Pro Tour, a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) circuit with an aggregate prize pool of over $5M USD.
- The ESL Pro Tour will connect multiple ESL and DreamHack tournaments and leagues under one circuit, divided into Challenger and Masters Levels.
- Consolidating the events will offer a more transparent competitive structure and “provide a better story” for esports fans, says DreamHack.
DreamHack and ESL, both part of Modern Times Group MTG AB, announced that over 20 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) tournaments and leagues will be consolidated under one circuit called the ESL Pro Tour.
The ESL and DreamHack tournaments will be combined into “one narrative,” according to a release. Previously, only the top events for each company were connected, through the Intel Grand Slam competition. The ESL Pro Tour will feature an aggregate prize pool of over $5M and create a “more complete path” for aspiring players.
“You can really look at this as a sanctioning system,” Mike Van Driel, DreamHack chief product officer told The Esports Observer. “Our goal is not to try to take up more space but to provide a better story for the audience and to provide a better route and path for the players of tomorrow, which is really important.”
ESL Pro Tour competitors will play in two different categories. The Challenger category tournaments include DreamHack Open, the Mountain Dew League, and ESL’s National Championships. The Masters category will offer at least $250K in prize money per event, and focus on arena tournaments. This category includes ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters, and DreamHack Masters, as well as the 2020 format of the ESL CS:GO Pro League.
Points will be awarded to competing teams, which will translate into an ESL Pro Tour ranking. The top teams will compete at ESL One Cologne and Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, two of ESL’s largest events by attendance and consumer-based revenue.
CS:GO publisher Valve was not “heavily” involved in the new format, said Van Driel, but ESL Pro Tour was intended to complement Valve’s established events.
“What we want to do is look at the different tournaments we run and find some connective tissue between them,” explained Van Driel, adding that a “healthy” amount of time will be placed between ESL Pro Tour Majors and Valve tournaments in Katowice and Cologne.
For sponsors, the ESL Pro Tour is an opportunity to create something “new and prestigious,” said Van Driel. DreamHack and ESL will continue to operate separately and events will remain familiar to fans. Van Driel considers the move to be a “tide that raises all ships,” saying that all stakeholders, sponsors, players, and teams should work together for mutual benefit.
Additional details about the new system will be revealed at a press briefing on Sept. 28 at ESL One New York.
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