Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has grown rapidly this year, and its tournament at ESL One in March attracted over 1 million viewers. A joint announcement between ESL and ESEA today, however, may be the game’s biggest news to date—CS:GO is finally getting a pro league.
The new ESL and ESEA pro league will put $1 million on the line, and will feature the biggest teams in the scene.
The Daily Dot and HLTV reported earlier this month on discussions among major players in esports to form a new Counter-Strike league. That initial report was meet with significant backlash from the community, as many feared it would lead to teams being locked into exclusive contracts. Last weekend, a group of other organizations met to at the DreamHack Bucharest event to discuss a possible counter-strategy.
Over the course of the discussions, the attitude towards exclusivity shifted, especially after the public backlash. But it was clear that ESL and ESEA were set on making something bigger.
Now, that bigger vision is realized. Beginning on May 4, 24 teams will compete in the CS:GO Pro League, split evenly between the North American division and European division, with $500,000 on the line for each region. The league will have weekly matches but will be “scheduled around Valve-supported majors.”
The finals for the league will take place live at ESL’s studios in California and Germany. More information can be found at the league’s official website.
UPDATE: ESL has clarified the prize pool distribution and structure in a statement to the Daily Dot. “The prize pool is $500,000 per season for both US and EU. As we will have 2 seasons this year, it adds up to $1 million in 2015. “