Apr 6 2016 - 1:00 pm

Twitch and FACEIT to launch team-owned Counter-Strike league today

The race to create the world's premier Counter-Strike league is well and truly underway, and Twitch are the latest to announce their effort
Morning Editor
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The race to create the world's premier Counter-Strike league is well and truly underway, and Twitch are the latest to announce their effort.

Twitch has partnered with tournament organizer FACEIT to create the Esports Championship Series (ECS), a $3.5 million Counter-Strike league which will launch later today.

The league, which will include 10 teams from North America and 10 from Europe, will have one unique aspect: It will be the first esports league to offer teams co-ownership akin to the NFL or other traditional sports leagues.

The teams will also have a say in the league's governing committee, making decisions on rules, player welfare, and all other aspects of league management.

Details about the tournament are very limited, but the league will begin at 11:30am eastern later today with closed qualifiers. 

Six teams, including G2 Esports, mousesports and Splyce, will take part in those closed qualifiers for four spots in in the league. No information has been released on what teams will fill the other 14.

Fans will be quick to compare this league with Turner Sports' ELEAGUE, which launches next month. No information about broadcast schedules for ECS has been released, or whether the broadcast times will clash with ELEAGUE. But with ELEAGUE broadcasting between noon and 7pm eastern four days a week, scheduling conflicts seem all but inevitable—that is, unless ECS finishes before ELEAGUE's May 24 debut.

Plans are already in place for a second season of ECS, which will include the launch of a second tier developmental league in the vein of the League of Legends Challenger Series.

Information about the event is scarce, but with the biggest prize pool in Counter-Strike history it definitely merits attention. If this league has the top teams and talent involved, it could be massive for the industry.

The league is the second Twitch-backed initiative announced so far this year. Last month Twitch launched the $75,000 Rocket League Championship Series with the game's developer Psyonix.

Image via Valve

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