06 July 2019, North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne: Fans watch the semi-final between the teams Vitality … [+]
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Topline: ESL, esports’ biggest tournament organizer, has announced a new team-owned format for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitions in an effort to jumpstart profits and bring sustainability to the competitive tournament gaming scene.
- Thirteen teams will become founding members of the newly organized league after ironing out details in Paris in January in what has become known as the “Louvre Agreement”; the teams won’t have to pay an entry fee, will have long-term slots in the league and 11 more teams will qualify based on world rankings.
- Twenty-four teams will share ownership of the ESL Pro League, which is heading into its 11th season on March 16, as well as share revenue and profits from all ESL CS:GO tournaments.
- The new partnership includes much of the esports’ top-ranked clubs, including Astralis, mousesports and Team Liquid, which Forbes estimates is worth $320 million.
- This comes on the heels of the announcement of Flashpoint, a competing team-owned CS:GO league with UFC-styled broadcasts that’s announced organizations like Cloud9, Immortals Gaming Club and Gen.G—some of the top esports clubs in the world but currently not the highest-ranked in CS:GO.
- ESL is the world’s largest esports events organizer, and in 2015, the Swedish media company Modern Times Group purchased an $87 million majority stake in Turtle Entertainment, the holding company of ESL.
Crucial Quote: Victor Goossens, founder and co-CEO of Team Liquid: “Over the past year and a half, we have been working to establish a framework to create a sustainable future for the CS:GO ecosystem. The new entity will utilize our combined strengths to pave the best path forward for everyone, from teams and tournament organizers to fans and players. We consider this a monumental agreement and an important step forward for all of esports.”
Key Background: It looks as though the CS:GO pro scene will be the proving ground for team-owned esports leagues. Other esports are either a collective of tournaments from third-party organizers like ESL, or they’re publisher-run entities like the Call of Duty League, which requires team owners to purchase reported $25 million franchise slots. Cloud9’s president Dan Fiden last month hinted at why these new formats are necessary: the team loses between $1-2 million each year in CS:GO, with ESL paying around $70,000 in 2019. The new ESL Pro League format already hit some growing pains as early changes meant teams that had already earned a slot were removed for the upcoming season. One of the esports’ top players, whose team is now a long-term member of the ESL Pro League, made his opinion known on Twitter: